Marshmallow Shooters {Force & Motion} & a Freebie

We are having tons of fun with our new Force & Motion science unit. Today, I wanted to share a little about the Marshmallow Shooters I posted on Instagram. These were inexpensive and easy to make, but provided lots of fun learning opportunities!

Here's what you'll need:

Cups - I've seen others use paper cups, but I chose to use the cheap-o plastic cups. These were easy to cut and a little more sturdy. For added stability, I double stacked the cups for each shooter since there were 80 in my package.

My plan was just to squeeze the cups and cut the bottoms off. Yes, this would have left a little more of a jagged edge, but I have lots of cute duct tape and washi tape to take care of that.

However, Mr. Madden would not hear of it! So, he lovingly used a box cutter to cut the circle bottom out of all 48 cups we were using. #lovethatman

Balloons - Nothing special here. I picked up everything for this project at Target and the balloons in the party section were perfect. Just cut the top tip of the balloon off as seen in the photo below.

Marshmallows - Lots of mini marshmallows. Actually, you won't need too many - one bag was perfect since the marshmallows can be used over and over again.

**You could also use mini pom-poms if you have those at school already. Since they are less dense, they will not "shoot" as far, but that could be a good thing for this lesson. ;)

Here's what you'll do:

Tie a knot in the end of the balloon.Stretch the cut end of the balloon over the top of the cup...the lip of the cup will help hold the balloon in place.

Drop a marshmallow into the cup so that it falls into the little "hole" where the knot is. Pull the knot back, aim, and shoot! That's it!

Beware...these little shooters work better than I expected! My little scientists worked with a partner to use different strengths of force to shoot the marshmallows. Then, they used tape measures to measure the distance of their attempts. They didn't even know they were learning! ;)

When I do this lesson next year, I plan to do it outside so that I can draw "targets" on the sidewalk/pavement. This way students would be encouraged to use different strengths of force to reach the targets (with some being closer and some being farther away).

I would highly recommend this activity if you teach forces and motion. It was definitely a HIT!

Of course, we recorded all of our results in our science notebooks. Here's the cover that I promised some of my IG followers. I use a composition notebook with a tab to divide it - half for math and half for science - but I've included an all-science version, too. I hope you can use it!

1 comment

  1. But what was the testable question, you were recording? I want to make sure that I am recording data, but recording distance? amount of force?


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