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Make Monkeys Fly in the Blink of an Eye

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Make Monkeys Fly in the Blink of an Eye

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Ok, well you won't be making real monkeys fly, so what's this science project all about? You might think that flying, screaming monkeys and science project do not belong in the same sentence, but you'll be working with toy monkeys, and toys can sometimes be great tools for exploring science. In this science project, you will launch flying, screaming toy monkeys and determine how far they fly with the stretch of a rubber band. The distance they'll go can be graphed to see how distance depends on how far the rubber band was stretched. Objective

Use flying, screaming monkey toys to experiment with how their flight distances depends on how far a rubber band is stretched.


There are a lot of toys that can be launched into the air using a rubber band or similar elastic material. A "flying, screaming monkey" is such a toy, reportedly being able to fly up to 50 feet (ft.) after being launched! What could be "scientific" about flying, screaming monkeys? Well, the series of steps you take to launch the monkey—stretching the rubber band and letting go to send the monkey flying—involves a series of energy conversions (or changes). When you stretch the rubber band, you are storing what is known as potential energy inside of it. Think of it like this. When you say someone has the potential to do something, like the potential to play basketball, you're saying it's possible that person could play basketball. Potential energy is the same thing; the rubber band now has the possibility of using its energy; in this case, to fly. The stretched rubber band will not look like it's energized—it won't be moving, or glowing, or hot—but it has more energy than an un-stretched rubber band does. This extra energy (the potential energy) is due to the change in the rubber band's shape.

The potential energy is stored in the rubber band until you let go of one end and the monkey starts to fly. At this point, the potential energy has been converted (or changed)...

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