A craft stick or popsicle stick chain reaction is a brilliant example of how potential and kinetic energy work. As you weave the lolly sticks together you can actually feel the potential energy building. The sticks are bent and pinned over each other creating tension. When you release the end stick the tension and potential energy are released making the sticks fly through the air.
I first saw a lolly stick chain reaction at a conference held by the Primary Science Teaching Trust and couldn’t wait to show my children, we’ve since made hundreds of different sizes and even added small pom pom balls to add to the excitement.
What you need for a popsicle stick chain reaction
Lots of craft sticks, we used slightly thicker sticks than normal.
How to make a popsicle stick chain reaction
Follow the video below to build your chain reaction.
More Craft Stick chain Reaction Ideas
How long can you make your chain reaction?
What do you think will happen if you add pom poms?
Could you add something a little heavier then pom poms? Would they jump as high? – remember to stand back
That are more chain reaction ideas in this great post from Frugal Fun for Boys.
More Popsicle Stick Activities
Design and build a popsicle stick catapult. This is another great activity to demonstrate kinetic and potential energy.
We also really love the look of these Exploding Boomerangs from I Can Teach My Child.
These popsicle stick bridges from Mommy Evolution look great too.