FUNology: Kinetics

STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering, Math

In this program, we did a series of activities, some focus directly on different types of kinetic energy, others that focus on identifying how your body moves, and finally how kinetic movement has affected art, such as mobiles.


The Science Behind Kinetics – 1 Hour Program

Introduction: About Kinetics (10 minutes)

Elaine, Laura, Welcome to an AACPL Funology Program


Kinetic Energy is the energy of motion, which simply means that anytime anything moves, it is using kinetic energy to do so.

Experiments and Explorations

Exploding Stick Bomb, the Cobra Weave (45 minutes, concurrent with activities)

While Ms. Laura works on activities dealing with your body’s movement, and leads you in creating mobiles, I will be taking people 3 at a time to work on our exploding stick bomb behind the tape line and chairs When I call your number, you’ll line up here, and put on your safety goggles and we will add your sticks to our bomb. At the end of the hour, we will set off the bomb and record it! We’re going to talk for a moment about these bombs. I’ve also made a handout for you to take home to try it there.


Principle: Potential Energy vs. Kinetic Energy

Today I’m going to show you the exploding stick bomb, and although that sounds dangerous its actually very safe. Safety tips – Wearing Goggles

Exploding Kinetic Art, or Crafts known as kinetics, which are crafts that use the energy of motion


Potential energy vs. Kinetic energy – Rubber band

When we weave those popsicle sticks into a pattern like the “Cobra Weave”, we bend them. So they push back. For example, in the illustration above, the green stick is bent slightly around the blue stick, so it pushes down at point F, and up at points G and D. (We are looking down onto the sticks here.) But it’s held in place by the brown and yellow sticks. The yellow stick is pushing down at D, because it’s bent around the green stick and held in place at E and B. And what’s holding the whole thing in place is your finger pushing down on A.

Potential Energy: Stick Bomb
How To:


Stick bomb instructions (adjusted and cut down from here)

Our Stickbomb:

 Our Kinetic Experiments

Activity 1: Creating Dance Progressions

Principle: Scientific Body Movement & Kinetic Awareness

 Kinetic Awareness: The ability or skill to know the position of your body in a moment in time and space. Activities such as martial arts, yoga, and dance as well as our next activity can improve kinetic awareness. The following activity also incorporates mathematical and scientific principles to movements and dance.

5 Stages: (see handout)

Becoming aware/Articulation

Total Body Systems/Coordination

Speed levels

Tension levels


 Activity 2: Kinetic Mobiles

Principle: Kinetics in Art

 Kinetic art is art from any medium that contains movement as part of the experience. The moving parts are generally powered by wind, a motor or the observer. [Scientific principle: force] These forces create energy which move the artwork.

 Kinetic art is usually divided into two main categories:

  • Virtual movement: Sculptures that don’t really move; and
  • Real movement: Movement that occurs via an illusion or actually move through either independent means or view manipulation.  Most Kinetic artists, however prefer to use the forces of nature, i.e. Wind, solar power, gravity or magnetism to power their works

 Create and Hang Mobiles (bubble machine to create movement, or fan?)

There are many other aspects of kinetics and experiments that you can do at home, and a lot of those can be found on our display of different books about Kinetics, force and movement. Make sure to take a print out about stick bombs with you too, and look up more videos on youtube about them.


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