Science with a rubber band

Science with a rubber band

What kind of science can be done with a simple rubber band? In this post I want to discuss some ideas which use the rubber band as the basic unit in the experimentation. The rubber band is common enough material that will allow these ideas to be explored well. It is a low cost attempt at bringing in aspects of scientific process, experimentation and measurements.

How to construct your own spring balance?

One of the basic properties of rubber bands is that they are stretchable. This property makes the rubber band a common item as it can be used in a variety of situations.

Rubber bands stretch when a force is applied to them. The force can be in any form. For example, you can use your hands to stretch a rubber band. This stretch is temporary within limits, if you stop the force, the rubber band comes back to its original length. If you stretch too much the rubber band breaks.

We will use this property of the rubber band its stretching when applied a force in order to construct our own spring balance - a device to measure weight!

Activity 1
Let us first do an activity. Hold one end of rubber band in each of your hands. Now gently start to stretch the rubber band by increasing the distance between your hands. Stretch the rubber band till it doesn’t stretch any more. Hold it in fully stretched condition and then release it. When the rubber band is in its original shape again, touch it.

Now answer some questions about this

  1. Did you have to apply almost same force throughout or was the force varying? For example, did think that you applied a larger force initially and then smaller force when the rubber band was already stretched?
  2. How did the length change with the applied force?
  3. Did you feel any temperature change when you touched the rubber band after it was released and brought back to its original shape?

We will use the property of the rubber band that it increases length when a force is applied to it to measure force. Now let us talk about weight. Look at the following conversation and answer these questions before you go further:


  1. Do you know what is the difference between weight and mass?

Weight is a type of force that is .

Making a musical instrument

Temperature and stretching

Why does it stretch?

Making a catapult

Making a vehicle

**Storing the energy

Charges on a rubber band