Science Experiment: Potential & Kinetic Energy – Marshmallow Catapult

Science Experiment: Potential & Kinetic Energy – Marshmallow Catapult

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Every object on earth has potential energy. That means it COULD move even if it isn’t right now. When an object IS moving it has kinetic energy.

In today’s demonstration you are going to store energy in a spring. That spring will have the potential to move, but it won’t move until you let it move. The catapult you make is going to transfer energy from the spring to a marshmallow. The marshmallow will have potential energy until the catapult releases, then the marshmallow will have kinetic energy as it flies through the air.

You Will Need:

  • Kleenex Box & 2 pencils OR 10 popsicle  or craft sticks
  • Rubber Bands
  • Milk Jug Cap


Here are some websites and books that will help you understand energy:

  • US Energy Information Administration: What is Energy?
  • Physics4Kids: Energy Around Us
  • ENWIN Utilities: Types of Energy
  • Gadgets and Gizmos Chapter on Energy “Energize” (pages 111-136).  Marshmallow Catapult (Pages 120-122).
  • Science Experiments That Fly and Move (pages 12-13) Marshmallow Shooter
That Fly and Move Stomp Rockets and Catapults Gizmos and Gadgets

Words to Know:

Energy – the ability to move things or do work; a force acting through a distance.
Potential Energy – Stored energy.
Kinetic Energy – The energy of motion.
Catapult – A device used to throw an object…like a slingshot or a medieval catapult the knights at a castle might use.

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21 Responses »

  1. I updated the directions links Chad – the Marshmallow Catapult directions were from the Spoonful Craft site that has been discontinued. I did find a picture of the marshmallow catapult made from a box and 2 pencils though. The Pinterest Board I linked to has several different designs for marshmallow catapults. Hope that helps. Let me know if you still are having trouble finding what you need.

  2. The link to the catapult instructions takes you to a Disney craft page. I would love the instructions to be put back up.

  3. is a very nice project my dear i love this so much.
    but I also want to know whether the catapult can possess or have both potential and kinetic energy

  4. GREAT! I love this sooo much! Thanks for sharing. Really helped with having fun and teaching the kids a thing or two about kinetic and potential energy! 😀

  5. this seems like a nice thing to do for our project but we must know how to make it

  6. this is cool thanks to you we have an idea for a project in class but how exactly would you make it also we already have the things we need but how would we put it together and how would we use it because the grade will matter a lot to both my friend and i

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