Magnus Glider

This is a fun alternative to paper airplanes. It demonstrates the “Magnus” effect.

This is the effect that makes a ball curve in baseball with a curveball pitch. When the ball is thrown, it is also

spun. With the Magnus glider you create a glider from taping two foam or paper cups together, then wind a

long rubber band around them that will be released when you pitch your glider model forward. This spins the

cups while you are throwing them. This tends to make the glider move slightly away from the direction you



Force and Motion

age range



  • Styrofoam cups (2 each) variety of sizes lets the learner explore how size and weight affect the flight

  • Masking tape (variety of colors)

  • Rubber Bands (3-4 thin rubber bands 2-4 inches in length)

safety issues


indoor, outdoor, flying, game, make, design, arts and crafts, magnus effect, wide open spaces, aerodynamics, physics, friction


Science Museum of Minnesota