Introduction: Construct a Rubber Band Powered Boat
In this project we’ll be building a boat that uses a rubber band and some plastic spoons to paddle itself around.
- 1 plastic bottle
- 2 plastic spoons
- 1 rubber band
- 1 hot glue gun and a few extra glue sticks(Always have adult supervision when using a hot glue gun)
- 1 Chop sticks, although you could also use dowel rods or longer Popsicle sticks depending on what you have around the house.
Step 1: Attach Sticks to Side of the Bottle (ALWAYS HAVE ADULT SUPERVISION WHEN USING a HOT GLUE GUN)
Attach the chop sticks. The chop sticks will be what eventually holds our paddle mechanism onto your boat so it’s important to make sure it’s level and even. As you can see in the pictures, I used the ridges that are molded onto the bottle to make sure they were as level as possible. After I was happy with the location, I used hot glue to secure the first stick. (ALWAYS HAVE ADULT SUPERVISION WHEN USING A HOT GLUE GUN)Once I got the first stick on, I simply looked through the clear bottle to help line up the second chop stick, again using the molded ridges to make it as level as possible. I also wrapped some tape around my bottle just to help secure the sticks. The plastic bottle makes a nice body of our boat because it’s buoyant. Buoyancy relates to how well something will float in a liquid. Because the bottle is filled with air, it will float on top of water, even with all the other parts attached to it.
Step 2: Cut Spoons (HAVE AN ADULT HELP WITH THIS STEP! BE CAREFUL DOING THIS STEP!)
Cut down the plastic spoons. We don’t need the entire plastic spoon so we’re going to get rid of the handles. HAVE AN ADULT HELP WITH THIS STEP! BE CAREFUL DOING THIS STEP! Depending on the spoons, scissors, and how much pressure that you are using it’s possible that your spoon will shoot off after you’ve cut it. This could be dangerous depending on who is around and how the spoons react.
Step 3: Glue Spoon Cups Together
Glue the spoons together. (ALWAYS HAVE ADULT SUPERVISION WHEN USING A HOT GLUE GUN) This will eventually be our paddle for our boat. It’s helpful but totally necessary if our spoons are opposite of each other like in the pictures. Why do you think that is? I’ll give you a hint, it has something to do with how it will spin later on.
Step 4: Attach Spoons to the Back of Your Boat
Attach the spoons to the back of your boat. The first thing you’ll want to do is take your rubber band and put it around the back of your chop sticks. I had to double my rubber band over because of how bit it was. Next, put your paddle through the rubber bands, and add a little hot glue to hold the rubber bands to the spoons. I did this step for both sides of the paddle. Also note how my spoons are facing. Again, this will be important later on.
Step 5: Test the Boat and Motor
Sail the open seas! All that’s left now is to test our boat out. You’ll want to twist your spoons so that the rubber band is under a lot of tension. Tension means that the rubber band has been stretched out, and want to unwind itself to get back to it’s original form. All this tension also means the spoons now have a lot of what is called potential energy. Potential energy means something could happen with the parts we’re working with. In the case of the spoons, they have the potential to spin with the rubber band. If you let the spoons start spinning, that potential energy becomes kinetic energy. Kinetic energy means something is moving. In the case of our boat, the moving object is of course our spoons. This is also why it was important to have them facing the right direction earlier. As they spin now, they’ll catch more of the water and move it. This will in turn help the boat move farther and faster. This concept also relates to Newton’s third law of motion. Which says that for every action there is a reaction. In the case of our boat, the action is the spoons spinning and pushing against the water. The reaction to this is that our boat moves through the water.
2 years ago
Great little project, thank you for sharing! : )
Reply 2 years ago
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Reply 2 years ago
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