Blast off and explore potential and kinetic energy while making your own slingshot rubber-band rockets!

If you need a quick review, be sure to check out our Rosie Explores episode on potential and kinetic energy.

Ready to make this project at home or in your classroom? Watch the video for an overview, gather the materials listed at the right, and follow the instructions below!

Required Materials

  • rubber band
  • popsicle stick
  • masking tape
  • straw
  • paper clip
  • card stock
  • eraser

Step-By-Step Instructions

Step 1

Wrap the rubber band around the popsicle stick and secure it in place with masking tape.

Step 2

Slot the eraser (a small one from the end of a pencil) into the end of the straw and secure it with masking tape. Note: you may need to cut slits in the straw to ensure a secure fit.

Step 3

Bend the center of the paper clip out so that it is flat. The remaining hooked end should be bent at a 90 degree angle from the straight portion of the paper clip.

Step 4

Secure the flat end of the paper clip to the straw using masking tape. Keep the hooked end perpendicular to the straw.

Step 5

Fold a piece of card stock into four equal squares. Cut the corners off at an angle to create four equally-sized triangles.

Step 6

Secure each triangle to the base of the straw using masking tape. The base of the straw should now resemble a rocket.

Step 7

Loop the rubber band on to the hook of the paper clip. Push the popsicle stick away from you and pull the straw towards you.

Step 8

Release the straw and watch your rocket soar! Can you increase the distance traveled by increasing the distance the rubber band is pulled back? Be sure to identify the rocket’s potential energy and when/how kinetic energy occurs (link to the Rosie Explores video above if you need a review)!