Gather your supplies and get ready, because we’re about to create an air cannon that can combat air resistance to send a pom-pom ball soaring into the air. That pom-pom won’t know what hit it.

What You Need

  • 16-oz. paper cup
  • Duct tape
  • Pencil
  • Plastic newspaper bag or plastic produce bag
  • Pom-poms (small & medium-sized)
  • Scissors

What You Do

  1. Using the pencil, poke a hole in the center of the bottom of the paper cup. Smooth out the edges of the hole by twisting the pencil in the hole.
  2. Open the plastic bag and place it around the mouth of the paper cup.
  3. Secure the bag around the cup with duct tape. The bag should be airtight to the cup.
  4. Check for air leaks by blowing into the hole in the bottom of the cup. If you feel air escape, seal the leaks with duct tape.
  5. Blow into the hole in the bottom of the cup to inflate the plastic bag. Trap as much air as possible inside the air cannon.
  6. Turn the cup bottom-up and load the pom-pom into the hole in the bottom of the cup. The pom-pom acts as a plug that holds the air in the cannon.
  7. To launch the pom-pom, firmly press on the bag. Air will rush out of the cannon and send the pom-pom flying!

Explore different techniques by changing how hard or fast you press or squeeze the bag, using different pom-pom sizes, or testing other objects as ammo.

By Girlstart. The world’s greatest challenges need new STEM ideas. Yet half the world’s potential ideamakers — women and girls — are often discouraged from STEM fields. We believe that more girls with more ideas will create more solutions to benefit us all. Visit us online at


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