In this activity I used two types of energy to load and launch your cotton ball. As I drew back on the pencil with the ball loaded I was adding potential energy to the system. The farther I pulled back on the pencil, the more potential energy was being stored. When I released the pencil, the energy became kinetic and the ball should have gone flying through the air!
The farther I pulled back on my launcher the more potential energy I added to the system—and the more I stored the more kinetic energy should have been released when I shot the cotton ball. As a result, the farther I pulled back on the launcher, the farther the cotton ball should have traveled.