Picture of Cork Shooter
This project is born from the fact that students in my engineering classes really enjoy building projectile launchers. I wanted something that was simple to build, effective, and has lots of room for modifications. The cork shooter fulfills that criteria and of course provides a hands-on lesson in trajectory, structural integrity, and stored energy.

Lesson Plan:

Grade range: 1-5
Prep: 2/5
Setup: 2/5
Cleanup: 1/5

Prep: Cut corks into quarters.
Setup: Set up glue guns and designate a firing area

Start-of-class lecture
  • Demonstrate the project
  • Show step-by-step how it's built
  • Explain how the rubberband stores and utilizes energy
  • Describe how aiming the shooter up or down will change the cork's trajectory
  • Discuss safety

Learning objective:
  • Students will understand the importance of rigidity during the lecture.
  • Students will improve their motor skills and will further comprehend how the cork shooter functions during construction.
  • Students will experientially comprehend how the cork shooter works using the stored energy of the rubberband, as well as their spatial reasoning skills while using the cork shooter.
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Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials
For the basic model, you'll need:

6 craft sticks
3 craft cubes
2 rubberbands
1 clothespin
Hot glue

Step 2: Frame and trigger

Picture of Frame and trigger
The craft sticks used to build the frame must be attached with one on top of the other. In the first picture, the sticks appear to be long shallow steps, descending from right to left. This is necessary because the rubberband will be released from right to left. If the edge of the craft stick is exposed, it may catch the rubberband and cause the shooter to not work properly.

Two cubes are placed close together on one end to support the trigger. This will make more sense in the next step.

Finally, the trigger (clothespin) is glued on.

Step 3: Wrap a rubberband around the trigger

Picture of Wrap a rubberband around the trigger
A rubberband is wrapped around the opening of the clothespin so that it is harder to open. This will help prevent accidental misfiring.

The two cubes under the clothespin prevent the frame from buckling under the tension of the wrapped rubberband.
kurtwied4 months ago
try using this design just try converting it to a crossbow or trebuchet. but i still love all your projects!:)
Where would you get craft cubes from?
doncrush1 year ago
Lance - have you considered modifying/combining this with the Rocket launcher project? With the right modifications this would probably launch the rockets pretty well.
WYE_Lance (author)  doncrush1 year ago
Hey Don, good to hear from you. Yes, I considered this, and I tried shooting straws from these in my class earlier this morning. It does work quite well! But it is a little bit more difficult for the students to use.
doncrush1 year ago
Same always Lance makes the engineering connect! I love the connection to Angry Birds. We NEED more educators like Lance!
Schmidty161 year ago
Very cool can't wait to make one

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