Extreme Science: Popsicle Stick Grenade

What you will need:

  • 5 popsicle sticks
  • Adult supervision


1. Place two popsicle sticks in your hand so that they make a “V” shape.

2. Place one more popsicle stick over these two so that it is pointing straight up as shown:
Popsicle Stick Grenade

3. Holding the sticks tightly at the base while you slide a popsicle stick down in between all three sticks as shown. This stick needs to be placed so that it is behind the two outside sticks and in front of the center stick as shown.
Popsicle Stick Grenade 2

4. Now, slide one last popsicle stick down in between the three vertical sticks as shown. This last stick should be placed just opposite from the last one so that it is in front of the two outside sticks and behind the center stick.

Popsicle Stick Grenade 3

5. Your popsicle stick grenade should now be ready to throw. DO NOT throw this at any person or animal! Yes, that includes your little brother and sister! When it hits the wall or ground, it should explode into 5 pieces. You can now put them all back together again and throw it over and over again.

What is going on?

As you build the popsicle stick grenade, each stick is forced in between the other sticks causing pressure to be placed on each stick. If you were to let go prior to placing the last stick, your grenade would not hold together. Placing the last stick so that it is just the opposite of the stick placed just before it, creates forces that will actually hold all of the sticks together. As soon as you throw your grenade at the wall or the floor, one or more of the sticks can become dislodged. Since all five sticks are creating opposite forces on each other, if any of these sticks become dislodged, the whole thing “explodes” into pieces. As the sticks are held in place by this “pressure” they contain what is known as potential energy. Basically, here is a force that is present but it is not going anywhere. It is being held in each stick as they press on each other. As soon as one of the sticks are removed, the structure is compromised and the forces are released causing them to be thrown in different directions. This is where the potential energy is released in what is known as kinetic energy.

Read More: Popsicle Sticks Making Machine



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