Energy and Its Forms

Confetti Launcher

Energy and Its Forms

Duration: 90 minutes

Notes / Activity

Using DIY materials:

1. Design and build a confetti launcher

  • 4-PS3-2: Make observations to provide evidence that energy can be transferred from place to place by sound, light, heat, and electric currents. [Assessment Boundary: Assessment does not include quantitative measurements of energy.] 
  • 4-PS3-3: Ask questions and predict outcomes about the changes in energy that occur when objects collide. [Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on the change in the energy due to the change in speed, not on the forces, as objects interact.] [Assessment Boundary: Assessment does not include quantitative measurements of energy.]

By the end of this lesson, the student should able to:

  • Investigate and describe the relationship between kinetic and potential energy. 
  • Use evidence from the investigation to design and construct a launcher using concepts of kinetic and potential energy. 

Lesson Plan

Lesson Introduction

Duration: 10 min

Launch the learning story:



  • Have the students discuss and choose the correct answer. 
  • Explain to students the relationship between the force of gravity and the projectile motion. 
  • Elicit from the video: A projectile is any object that moves through the air or space, acted on only by gravity. 


Duration: 10 min

  • Introducing the “Projectile and Balanced force” flashcards.
  • Each student will receive a flashcard and they will identify the activity in the flashcard.
  • Divide the board into two groups and label “Projectile” and “Balanced Force”.
  • Have the students look at their flashcards and decide whether their activities are either projectiles or balanced forces by asking the following questions: 


“Which activity shows a projectile?”/“Which activity shows a balanced force?”


  • Have the students look at all the cards and see if there are any cards that need to be shifted to another group.
  • Have students think if the cards show activities that do not belong to the two groups. 


Projectile: Basketball, Badminton, Cannonball

Balanced force: Sitting on a chair, Tug War

Unbalanced force: Skateboarding


Duration: 40 min

  • A4 colored paper
  • Balloon
  • Paper roll
  • Tape
  • Rubber bands
  • Confetti paper


  • Elicit from students: 


When do you think a confetti launcher is used? (Celebrating a happy event)

Do you know of anything that launches objects into the air? (rocket)


  • Get the students to design and build a confetti launcher.
  • Elicit from students while they are building their launcher:


What will you use to hold your confetti before launching?

What will you use to apply force on your launcher to send it flying? 


Step 1: Tie a knot at the bottom of a deflated balloon. Cut off half inch silver at the very top of the balloon. 

Step 2: Stretch the balloon over the paper roll with the knot at the bottom. Tape the balloon to the tube with tape. 

Step 3: Use decorative paper to decorate your confetti launcher. You can add stickers and color with markers and wrap it around your tube. 

Step 4: Once decorated, fill the tube with one quarter full of confetti. 

Step 5: Cover the tube with a piece of colored crepe paper and secure it with a rubber band to keep the confetti inside. 

Step 6: Remove the rubber band and colored crepe paper. Pull back the knot of the balloon to release the confetti.


  • Set up a testing zone for students to test their confetti.

Elaborate, Evaluate – Pair Activity

Duration: 30 min

  • Have students show their “Confetti Launcher”. 
  • Elicit from the elaborate activity, discuss and ask the students:


“Did your confetti fly? If it does not, why? What did/can you do to make it fly?

“Does the confetti burst out in the shape you want? Is it as high or wide or fluttery as you had hoped?”

“What force or motion can be observed in this activity?”

Ans:” Gravitational force and projectile.”

“What will happen next after you send your confetti into the air? Why?”

Ans:”Confetti will fall down to the ground, because of the gravity.” 

HINT: A launcher changes stored (potential) energy into motion (kinetic) energy. The resulting force sends confetti flying.


  • Explain to students: When the pencil is pulled back, the rubber bands are stretched and it has more potential energy to move further. The movement is called kinetic energy.
  • (OPTIONAL) Go to and play the video to show the students how to build other forms of confetti launchers.
  • Have students improve their launcher or rebuild a new one. They can even build another model such as a slingshot. Get them to brainstorm about the following questions while they improve their launchers.


How can you launch it more? 

What happens when you launch it higher? Lower? 

What if you put something heavier? 

Can you do this with longer tubes? 


  • Have students test their newly improved launchers to test them.