Rubber band cannons

Build rubber band cannons from crisp tins and drinks bottles, and use them to explore projectile motion.

two boys holding up Pringles cans as if they are cannons
Serafino, 7, and Alessandro, 10, playing with rubber band cannons, Image credit: The Royal Institution


Make a 'cannon' using elastic bands, a soft drink bottle and a crisps tin and explore how things fired from it move through the air.

ExpeRiment with changes you can make to your cannon to see what affects how something fired from it behaves.

Learn about conservation of energy and how the mass, initial angle of launch and initial speed of an object affect the motion of a projectile. 

About this activity

Build a rubber band powered cannon from a crisp tin and a drinks bottle and use it to explore projectile motion and conservation of energy...or just knock down any target you can think of.

In this fun kids activity, Andrea Sella and his children experiment with materials to build the best catapult possible. They then use the slingshot to investigate how things fly through the air. By predicting and altering the variables, Andrea's sons get a feel for the scientific method while doing a great summer activity.