This is a simple, fun, and sneaky way of throwing tiny objects. It’s from one of our spy-kit projects. Just remember, keep it under-cover. Here’s what you need:

  • a cheap mechanical pencil
  • two rubber bands
  • a razor with adult help
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29 Responses to “P-Shooters”
  1. Aurora says:

    The question is asking how fast did the ball have to be moving in order to get that high? We can’t really measure the height accurately or easily, but we can measure time. By timing how long it takes to go up, turn around and come back down, we can figure out how high it had to go, and then figure out how fast it was going to get that high. We can do that all with one projectile motion equation.

    The equation included is a standard projectile motion equation you’d find in any typical physics textbook, where “f” stands for “final” and “i” stands for “initial”. The “v” stands for “velocity” and the “t” stands for “time”. The “a” stands for “acceleration” and is a constant value of 9.8 meters per second2 for freefall motion.

    When we do these types of calculations, we look at just the horizontal component or just the vertical component. When we just look at the vertical component, the ball goes up and then down.

    So vf means the final velocity (which is zero when it hits the ground – it is no longer moving and doesn’t have any velocity.

    We don’t always know how the equation will look with every problem, so we have to start with the main equation and then simplify it from there.

    (There’s a video that explains all the letters and how to use the equation in the Projectile Motion section of the HS level Advanced Physics. I’ve included this lab for lower level kids because it’s a lot of fun to do!)

  2. jakebrown518 says:

    We are not understanding what the values represent in the equation. Please explain. Is M/S Meters per second? V is obviously Velocity, but what are the sub letters? Why is the formula so complex if it is simply 9.8 X the recorded time/2?

  3. Aurora says:

    I’ll have my team connect with you!

  4. darcia grady says:

    We are using Supercharged Science by grade level, specifically 7th grade.
    When we are under the topic of Seventh Grade Energy there is a list of experiments. We have the items necessary to conduct the β€œP-Shooters” that is listed under this grade, however when you select it it says it’s only available for Advanced Students. Then why is it in the 7th Grade area?

  5. Teresa Johnson says:

    Okay, Thank you.

  6. Aurora says:

    If you want to – it’s up to you.

  7. Teresa Johnson says:


    Would you have to take off the Clip?


  8. Debbie Aslinger says:

    I tried shooting a piece of cereal and it works PERFECTLY!!! We found some cereal that is just the right size to shoot. This is such a cool experiment!!!

    -Lucy Aslinger-

  9. Debbie Aslinger says:

    Okay, it works now! Thank you!!

    -Lucy Aslinger-

  10. Aurora says:

    I’ll have my team connect with you and take a peek into your account to see what’s going on. Sorry for the trouble! We’ll get this worked out for you.

  11. Debbie Aslinger says:

    I had access to this about a week ago, made one, and it didn’t quite work. (I didn’t have a mechanical pencil, and my substitute wasn’t quite right : ) Now, I have a mechanical pencil, and I was looking to do the experiment again…only to find that I don’t have access anymore! Is there a reason it has been removed? I have the K-8 program but I had access last week!

    -Lucy Aslinger-

  12. Aurora says:

    We were going to, but we moved it to the section of labs coming out this summer in e-Camp. πŸ™‚

  13. Aurora says:

    Yep! There’s a lot of cool spy experiment on our site, including the Burglar Alarms like the Trip Wire, Pressure Sensor, Sunlight Alarm, FM Transmitter, Latching Circuit, Laser Door Alarm, and so much more! You can use the search box to search for them.

  14. Lynn Glasheen says:

    Or you could make an entire module about spies.

  15. Lynn Glasheen says:

    could you make an actual spy kit with some of your coolest spy gadgets and gizmos?

  16. Aurora says:

    There’s a LOT of those on the website – and more if you include the section on secret codes in math and chemistry experiments about hidden messages changing colors… is there something in particular you are looking for?

  17. Lynn Glasheen says:

    please make a list of all of the detective/spy projects

  18. Aurora says:

    There’s a bunch of cool spy-like experiments in e-Science, including:

    Space Age Laser Communicator
    Laser Door Alarm
    Trip Wire
    Water to Wine

    and a section in Cryptography (coming next week)!

  19. Lynn Glasheen says:

    what other spy-kit projects are there because I love spy tools and equipment!!!!!!

  20. Lillian Jackson says:

    I meant treats!

  21. Lillian Jackson says:

    I love this thing! I think I will try it with one of my cat’s trats and have it whizz by her! She is usually so frisky that she’ll probably chase it!

  22. Aurora says:

    The one in the video didn’t have a screw, so I had to break it. But yes, a more subtle approach works, too!

  23. Sophia Pitcher says:

    Hey Aurora,

    The tops of most mechanical pencils screw off. . . I use the kind of mechanical pencil that you are using to do schoolwork
    and it unscrews, so I am curious, why break it ? πŸ™‚ ~ Jasmin

  24. Diana Thomsen says:

    i think this was one of the coolest expirements

  25. Lydia Fancher says:

    I was playing with this and the rubber band broke so I put a new one on and later the part you pull fell out and scrached my thumb and I was bleeding and good thing I know first aid πŸ˜€

  26. Rachel Johnson says:

    My girls enjoyed this one (almost too much). We used paper at first. We tried dry and wet balls of paper. It was so much fun it was hard to stop. Eventually I had to say, “OK, spit out your science and let’s get back to work”.

  27. Phyllis Smith says:

    My mom and I made this and it’s soooooo much fun! We took little peices of napkin and rolled them into balls for ammo, and let her rip!
    -Andrea Smith πŸ™‚

  28. sevy keble says:

    My bro loves playing with this. He keeps trying new ammo and it always flies all over the place!
    sevy keble

  29. sevy keble says:

    Hard to do, but very rewarding when finished!
    sevy keble πŸ™‚

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