Honors Physics

A.P. Physics

Physics Olympics

Thayer Problem Solving Page A.P. Physics Activities

Starburst Cannon

Starburst Cannon Champions

Ladd H., Michael W., & Andrew L.

29.05 Meters



General Purpose

To build a device to shoot a Starburst candy through the air as far and straight as possible.


The only source of energy for the Cannon will be the two provided mousetraps.

You may use equipment and supplies available to you at home, but your group may spend no more than a maximum of $5.00 purchasing additional equipment or supplies. (Please keep receipts to verify your costs.)

The device may not be attached to the floor in any way.

The starburst may start no more than 20 cm above ground level.

Your entire device must start behind the starting line.

No wheels or other rolling devices may be used to propell the Starburst across the floor.

The Starburst candy may not be altered in any way.

The Starburst candy must not be permanently attached to any object.

You must submit any "unusual" ideas to the instructor to determine if they qualify according to the spirit of the rules.

Contest Scoring

Each group will be allowed three trials and the score will be based on the best result for the three trials.













  ASSIGNMENT                                                                                POINTS                                                DUE DATE

                                   Redefined Problem                                                                                                5
                                    Written statement of the problem you are trying to solve.

                                Constraints and Specifications                                                                                10

                                    Define each if possible.

                                Brainstormed Solution Ideas                                                                                     10

                                    List at least 5 possible solutions. Draw simple diagrams or
Include written descriptions for each possible solution.

                                  Matrix to Select Potential Solution                                                                        10

                                    Include completed matrix and explain why certain Constraints or
                                    Specifications are weight

                                  Completed Device                                                                                                     15

                                    Must be ready for testing on the due date.



                                                                                                                At least 70% of the average of the third best score               20/20

                                                                                                                Moves the Starburst at least 1.5 m                                          18/20

                                                                                                                Moves the Starburst                                                                  16/20

                                                                                                               Doesn’t Move (But looks like it Could)                                   14/20

                                                                                                                                                           Total Score                                       70 pts.


                                    In addition, extra points will be awarded for 1st, 2nd, & and 3rd place in each class and overall.