Make Your Own Magnus Glider

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Build a glider that uses the same physics as a curve ball, for less than a dime. This activity includes simple instructions on how to build a Magnus Glider out of two styrofoam cups, masking tape, and rubber bands. The guide also contains a how-to video and explanation of the Magnus Effect.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
1 cent - $1 per student

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 14

Resource Type:


Materials List (per student)

  • two 16 oz. Styrofoam cups
  • about 12-18 inches of ¾” masking tape
  • four size #19 rubber bands (3½” x 1/16″) OR any combination that gets you over a foot long. Make sure the rubber bands are thin – too thick will break your cups


  • Physical Sciences
    • Motion and Forces
      • Projectile Motion
      • Rotation Motion

Informal Categories

  • Physical Activity
  • Sports and Exercise
  • Toys


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • be mobile
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Children's Museum of Houston


  • All rights reserved, Children's Museum of Houston, 2010

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