Cobra Weave Popsicle Sticks : Fizzics Education


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Cobra Weave Popsicle Sticks

Cobra Weave Popsicle Sticks

Follow FizzicsEd 150 Science Experiments:

You will need

  • Lots of Wooden tongue depressors!
  • The size needed is 150 x 17×1. 6 mm (the shorter sticks are harder to work with)


Get student activity sheets as blackline masters - $4

A pile of wooden tongue depressors
1 Starting Cobra Weave -Two Popsicle placed in parallel to one another

1. Place two sticks flat on the floor parallel to one another, as seen above.

2 Starting Cobra Weave-Four Popsicle Sticks forming a hashtag

2. Place two new sticks over the sticks in step 1 to form a ‘#’ symbol, making sure that the sticks are correctly woven together. See the photo above for reference.

3 Starting Cobra Weave-Four Popsicle Stick forming a hashtag, and where to put the next stick

3. Weave a new stick between the three points shown in the photo above. Where there is a red marking, the new popsicle stick should go under. Where there is a blue making, the popsicle stick should go over. See the photo above for reference.

After this stick is in place, be sure to hold down your cobra weave, if you let go, the chain reaction will be triggered and you will have to start again!

4 Starting Cobra Weave- Popsicle Stick forming a 'locked' hashtag, and where to put the next stick.

4. Weave another stick between the points marked below, again where there is a red marking, the new popsicle stick should go under and where there is a blue marking, the popsicle stick should go over the existing stick. See the photo above.

5 Step 5 in the cobra weave

5. Continue this weave on the opposite side of the chain. See the photos below.


6. Keep repeating steps 4 and 5 until you have reached your desired length.

Hint: Have some books or something heavy to place over the cobra weave as you go along. It will help you recover from an accidental release!

7 Ending or 'Locking off' Popsicle Stick cobra weave

Once the chain has reached the desired length, ‘lock it off’ by weaving a popsicle stick, through the points shown below. Note that if the popsicle stick is being pushed down, you want to weave the new popsicle stick under it, and if the popsicle stick is being pushed up you want to weave the new popsicle stick over it

This part can be challenging, get help if needed!



8 A chain of wooden tongue depressors raising up off the ground in front of a Fizzics science presenter

When ready, remove the final stick and watch what happens!

9 4 student worksheets on the popsicle stick explosion
10 A man pointing at a bicycle wheel spinning horizontally on a desk (balancing by itself)

Get the Unit of Work on Forces here!

  • Push, pull
  • Friction & spin!

From inertia to centripetal force, this unit covers many concepts about Newton’s Laws!

Includes cross-curricular teaching ideas, student quizzes, a sample marking rubric, scope & sequences & more

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12 Teacher showing how to do an experiment outside to a group of kids.

Online courses for teachers & parents

– Help students learn how science really works

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What is happening?

The cobra weave chain reaction demonstrates the conversion between stored potential energy to kinetic energy. When the sticks are weaved together it creates potential energy due to the tension within each stick. When one end of the sticks is released, the potential energy is released and converted into kinetic energy. The moving stick then slips out of the chain, releasing even more stored potential energy from the adjacent sticks. This sequence continues until the chain ends or is broken.

Classroom activity sheets for this experiment

Create, reflect & extend!

4 student worksheets on the popsicle stick explosion

An orange button describing student worksheets & lessons for sale

Want to try a different weave?

Check out the Bow Tie weave here!

A person releasing the wooden stick weave and now sticks are flying in the air

A man with a glove above a liquid nitrogen vapour cloud

Learn more!


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