This epic Exploding Watermelon activity is a fun, edible science experiment that helps kids of all ages learn about potential and kinetic energy.
Potential and Kinetic Energy
The concept of potential and kinetic energy might seem hard for kids to grasp, but this simple science experiment for kids will not only help them understand, but remember!
Potential energy is anything that has the possibility of movement. stored energy an object has because of its position or state. A bicycle on top of a hill, a book held over your head, and a stretched out rubber band all have potential energy.
Kinetic Energy is anything that has movement. So wind blowing leaves, a soft ball that has been thrown, and an object falling all have kinetic energy.
So in other words, a stretched out rubberband has potential energy, but when you let go and it retracts the movement turns into kinetic energy.
For this watermelon science experiment you will need the following supplies:
- medium watermelon
- 400-600 rubberbands (how many depends on the size of watermelon you get)
- 2 people to put the rubberbands on
- bowl (optional, but super helpful in keeping the watermelon stationary)
- gloves (optional, in case you break rubbebands to protect your hands)
- goggles (optional – to avoid getting watermelon pieces in your eyes)
- apron (optional – to keep your clothes watermelon free)
In this exploding watermelon science experiment you will observe the potential energy of a stretched out rubberband convert to kinetic energy as the rubberband retracts back to its original size. This movement from potential to kinetic energy will in essence cut the watermelon in half and make the fruit appear to explode.
A watermelon isn’t pliable, the rind gives this summer fruit a solid structure. You can’t deform the melon. If you remove the rubber bands, it will return to it’s original form. The rubber bands slowly break the structure of the rind until it can no longer hold together. The rubber bands apply force to the rind forcing it’s shape to change.
I highly suggest doing this watermelon challenge outside as it can make a mess as the name exploding watermelon suggests! Then again, that’s part of the reason it makes a great activity to add to your kids’ summer bucket list.
It is easiest to have 2-3 people to put the rubberbands on the watermelon. This way you gently slide it over the fruit to the midsection. Keep going, and going, and going!
Watermelon Rubber Band
The more watermelon rubber bands you put on, the more potential energy the watermelon gains in the displacement of its shape and content. If you only put 100 rubber bands on it won’t make the rubberband cut in half, but it may make it eventually create a seam in the fruit to release the tension.
You will need at least 400 rubberbands to complete this fun science experiment for kids.
If you are observant, when you are getting close to exploding the watermelon, you will notice the fruit start to change shape slightly. Our fruit started getting a smaller waist, bubbles came out the top, and we could hear a slight hissing sound.
When those things start to happen, GET READY! It will pop within a couple rubberbands!
Edible Science Experiment
Even though we knew it was coming from the bubbling and bulging, it was still a shock and SOOOOO cool! The watermelon popped up at least 5 feet in the air and made a great splatter! The sequels of delight and exclamations that science was so cool made my day!
This easy science experiment does take some time to get all the rubberbands on, but there are no fancy supplies and it can be done by kids of all ages. You’ve GOT to try this!
Although this summer science did make a big impression, it wasn’t a ridiculously big mess. All the watermelon pieces, rind, and rubber band landed within a 2 foot radius of where it started. It was easy to pick up the pieces and let the upcoming rain clean off the surfaces for us.
And as far as the clean-up of the watermelon, but kids took care of that! The pieces that flew were the perfect size for eating.
And my little ones grabbed a spoon and took care of the half that stayed put on the table.
It was interesting, after we got over the excitement of the fruit explosion, we couldn’t find the rubber bands anywhere around the explosion. We kept looking and finally found all the 400+ rubber bands. We were shocked to see all of them had stayed together in a big ball. How cool, is that!
More Fun Summer Activities
Looking for some more fun activities to try this summer? If your kids like crafts, try making this silly grass craft, preserve summer flowers to make these flower sun catchers, or try these beautiful bleeding tissue paper fireworks craft. Sneak in some learning with these super cute Free A to Z Letter Find Worksheets or practice number recognition with these Free Summer Color by Number Sheets. Or if you prefer, teach your kids more science with this beautiful Capillary Action Science Experiment or by trying this clever Balloon Science Experiment.