Make a Comeback Can

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Learners build a can that automatically returns after being rolled away. The can has a rubber band inside that stores energy as the can rolls one direction. The stored energy in the rubber band causes the can to roll back in the opposite direction. Use this activity to illustrate kinetic and potential energy.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per student

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 14

Resource Type:


Materials List (per student)

  • Empty can with a lid (like a coffee, oatmeal or paint can)
  • Twist tie or short pipe cleaner
  • Hex nut
  • Large rubber band
  • Scissors


  • Physical Sciences
    • Energy
      • Potential and Kinetic Energy
    • Motion and Forces
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations

Informal Categories

  • Toys


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access