Demonstrating Energy with a Rubber Band Car

As you know, energy cannot be created, and it cannot be destroyed. It has many forms such as the following:

• Mechanical energy—energy required to perform work
• Thermal energy—heat energy
• Kinetic energy—energy of motion
• Potential energy—stored energy
Potential and kinetic energy are usually paired during demonstrations, such as this experiment.

Know how to construct a rubber band car to demonstrate energy.

What you need:
• Pony beads
• Styrofoam or paper coffee cups (with at least 2 lids)
• Duct tape
• Scissors
• At least 3 rubber bands
• Coin
• Disposable chopsticks
• Pen or pencil
• Paperclips
• Metal washer

How you do it:
1. Place all your materials on your work table.
2. Using your coin and your pencil, trace a circle on the bottom of the cup.
3. Ask your teacher or any adult to help cut the traced circles.
4. Put the bottom of the cups together to align the holes. Secure them with the duct tape.
5. Use your pen or pencil to poke holes at the center of the cup lids. You can ask an adult to help you with the holes if you need to use scissors or a knife.
6. Connect the three rubber bands by inserting one halfway through the middle of another rubber band and tucking one side of the first rubber band through its center.
7. Insert your chain of rubber bands through the connected holes at the bottom of the cups.
8. Put one end of your chain of rubber bands through the hole in one lid.
9. Connect the lids to the cups.
10. Place a paper cup to that rubber band, so that it doesn’t pull back into your cup.
11. Place a metal washer through the rubber band on the inner side of the lid.
12. Then after the washer, thread the rubber band through your pony bead. A small loop should come out of your pony bead.
13. Using a disposable chopstick through that loop.
14. Wind it up.
15. Place your rubber band car on a flat, smooth surface and let it go.

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