The images here were created by my co-teacher Monisha, who started with these inspirations from PBS Design Squad and Frugal Fun.
Gather supplies – 2 toilet paper tubes, one pompom (or cotton ball or ping-pong ball), two rubber bands, pencil. Gather your tools: scissors, hole punch, tape.
You’ll be making one of the tubes into a smaller tube to slide inside the other. So, slit one tube down one side, roll it to be a little smaller, and tape it.
Then punch two holes in one end of the inner tube. Slide a pencil through those holes. Optional: You can choose to tape over the other end of the tube – that can help it be a better launcher, because the pompom can’t fall down into the inner tube.
Now, take the other tube – the one that will be the outer tube. Cut two slots in the end, so you can loop a rubber band over each one.
Now assemble it all. Slide the inner tube inside the outer one. Loop the rubber bands around the pencil.
To use: drop a pompom down inside the outer tube (it will land on top of the inner tube). Aim it up and out away from you. Then wrap your fingers around the pencil. Pull it back to stretch the rubber bands taut. Release, and it will launch the pompom through the air.
This advanced launcher builds upon our Engineering challenge where kids built simple pompom launchers.