STEAM Learning Lab – Stick Bombs – Exploring Potential and Kinetic Energy

Stick Bombs- Exploring Potential and Kinetic Energy
Recommended for Ages 8 and up(or a younger child and an adult helper)

 

If you’ve ever pulled or squeezed a spring, or stretched a rubber band, you've felt the tension as the object was about to bounce back to its shape. That tension is stored energy, or potential energy. Once you let go, that energy is released and turns into kinetic energy.

We can use Popsicle sticks to store energy too! Popsicle sticks can bend just a little bit, which means they have elasticity. If we weave them together, then all of that potential energy from being bent is stuck in the Popsicle sticks until it can be released, and the sticks go flying! Watch our video below!

Materials:

 

Directions:

  1. Following the diagrams, weave together the Popsicle sticks. If one design is too difficult, try one of the other patterns. This can take a few tries, and sometimes the help of an adult.
  2. The sticks should be stuck together without falling apart, and you should be able to pick up the shape you make.
  3. To release the energy stored in the sticks, you can either pull one stick out, or throw it on the ground. Sometimes the design is very strong and it takes a few tries to break! You can also try hitting the shape on the ground or the edge of a table.

 

More Fun:

  • Once you are able to make a few shapes, you can try a long shape, where removing one stick on the end will start a chain reaction of flying Popsicle sticks, as seen the video above!
  • See how long you can make a Popsicle stick chain! If you take pictures or a video, Please share them with us!


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