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Rubber Band Boat

Source Institutions

    Community Science Workshop Network

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Rubber Band Boat

In this activity, learners build styrofoam boats powered by twisted rubber bands. Use this activity to introduce learners to potential energy, kinetic energy, Newton's Laws of Motion, rotational motion, and density. Note: a drill is required for this activity, and is not included in the cost of materials. [Activity is publicly available through a web crawler capture on]

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
1 to 2 hours

Estimated Materials Cost:
$5 - $10 per student

Age Range:
Ages 6 - 18

Resource Types:
Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan


Materials List (per student)

  • 2 binder clips
  • 1 paint paddle or similar shaped wood
  • 5-7 rubber bands, thin
  • 2 washers
  • 1 2-liter plastic bottle, empty
  • 1 paperclip
  • 1 nail
  • 1 pushpin
  • 1 bead
  • 1 glue stick, 1/4" long
  • electrical tape
  • styrofoam
  • drill
  • pliers
  • decorations
  • container of water or pond


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Transportation Engineering
  • Physical Sciences
    • Energy
      • Potential and Kinetic Energy
      • Energy and Power
      • Work and Machines
    • Motion and Forces
      • Newton's Laws
      • Rotation Motion
    • Structure and Properties of Matter
      • Volume and Density
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations

Informal Categories

  • Model Building
  • Toys
  • Transportation


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

Includes alignment to state and/or national standards

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Watsonville Environmental Science Workshop


  • All Rights Reserved, Watsonville Environmental Science Workshop, ©2011

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