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Dunk Literary Cafe: Dunk Tanks

Dunk Tank Cafe Station Directions

Directions For This Cafe Station:

This station will focus on the history of the Dunk Tank. Please be sure to follow all directions in the order they appear on this sheet.

In the book Dunk, the main character Chad has become very interested in becoming Bozo, the clown, that sits on the dunk tank. This job requires Bozo to pick a mark in the crowd to target, and poke fun at them loud enough for the entire crowd to hear. This aggravates the mark, and to seek revenge the mark purchases balls to throw at the dunk tank with hopes of ‘dunking’ Bozo into the water. This activity has been used as a boardwalk game for many years, and has been modified into a carnival game or used as a fundraiser activity.

Work in groups of 3 and follow these directions to the Dunk Literary Café resource web page to learn more about the history of the dunk tank. Please note the questions for this activity continue onto the back of this page.


1. On the iPad mini, open up Safari. Click the open book icon (Bookmarks).

2. Click the link labeled Dunk Tank.

3. Read about dunk tank uses and safety from the article Dunk Tanks.

4. Watch the video clip from the Ellen DeGeneres Show about a fundraising effort using a dunk tank..

5. Answer the following questions based on your reading and viewing of the video clip.

  • In the video clip, what is Ellen DeGeneres raising money for?

  • What does a dunk tank consist of?

  • What are 2 reasons to have a dunk tank at an event?

  • Who are some common ‘victims’ that sit on the dunk tank?
  • Why should you not wear shoes in a dunk tank?  

  • What are 2 safety guidelines for dunk tanks? Why do they have these guidelines in place?


Dunk Tanks


dunk tank, also known as a dunking booth or dunking machine, is an attraction mainly used in funfairs, fundraisers, and personal parties. A dunk tank consists of a large tank of water, over which a volunteer is suspended while sitting on a collapsing seat. The game is played by a ball being thrown at a target attached to the tank which, if hit, causes the seat to collapse, "dunking" the person into the tank.


Woman Sitting in a Dunk Tank to Raise Money for Breast Cancer Awareness

Dunk tanks are often used by groups for fund raisers. For example, a group may rent a dunk tank for Shadow Of The City and have people volunteer to sit in a dunk tank. The public could then pay a small fee for the chance to dunk the volunteer victim. Common dunk tank victims include teachers, models, beauty queens, local celebrities, community leaders, and public figures.

Parties, carnivals, and picnics

Dunk tanks are also frequently rented for events where people are not charged to dunk a volunteer. Schools, for example, may have teachers volunteer to get dunked as a reward for students at the end of the school year. "Free" dunk tanks are also common at church picnics, block parties, birthday parties, etc. Bars and night clubs will also rent dunk tanks and hire models or pay waitresses to sit in a dunk tank for promotional purposes. University Fraternity and Sorority parties and fundraisers are also common events with dunk tanks. In Thailand, dunk tanks are a popular attraction at Buddhist temple fairs for a game called sao noi tok nam (สาวน้อยตกน้ำ, literally little lady falling into water).


Aside from cost, safety is the primary reason that a dunk tank would not be permitted at a given event. If the operator(s) is/are not fully trained or not giving the proper instructions there is a slight chance of injury when getting dunked, and people have been injured on occasion. General safety guidelines include keeping hands off any part of the tank assembly - some rental companies recommend keeping hands on your lap when sitting on a dunk tank. Grasping the seat could result in pinched fingers when the seat falls, and holding on to the side of the tank or enclosure could cause arm and shoulder injuries when falling in. There is also a slight risk of slipping on the bottom of the tank, so some rental companies recommend wearing shoes or sandals when getting dunked. However, most people prefer not to wear footwear in a dunk tank, and instead remember to "fall forward", to avoid hitting a body part on part of the tank assembly. In fact, many times volunteers are specifically instructed not to wear shoes, as they would like to keep the water in the tank clean. Additionally, following guidelines for the specific dunk tank being used will further prevent injuries. The possibility for injury has led to the creation of other alternatives..

From Wikipedia: Dunk tank at 10/3/15.

Ellen DeGeneres Show's Dunk Tank