Catapult Design Challenge

Yesterday (Friday) afternoon my class along with another grade 4 class completed a Catapult competition.  Mr. Harding came up with the materials and rules for the challenge (thank you).

7 wooden skewers

4 large marshmallows

1 small marshmallow

1 plastic spoon

1 elastic

1 roll of tape

Students were introduced to the challenge the day before.  No groups were made, but they could do some research at home individually if they wished.  Friday morning I heard lots of. “I watched this YouTube video, I saw this diagram, I found steps we could use…”This was self directed learning that was not required but the students took it upon themselves to explore further.

We started with 30 minutes of time to research catapults.  Who used them, what were they made of etc.. They posted this info on a padlet wall for all to see.  I wanted this time to be about how a real-life catapult was built, not time to research for the challenge.

Catapult Padlet Wall

After a nutrition break, some time to digest their new learning, they were placed in groups of 3 or 4 for the challenge.

-Build a catapult that fires the small marshmallow the furthest.

-You may hold the catapult down but not tape it to the floor.

Students were given 10 minutes with no materials to plan with their group.After the 10 minutes groups were given their materials.  Some groups continued to plan, others dove right into the materials.

Planning Stage
Building Stage
Our finalized designs

Some photos from the competition 

So now, what’s next?

  1. A discussion about the difference between a slingshot and a catapult
  2. Define the parts of a catapult
  3. Explore the historical significance of catapults in ancient times
  4. Trebuchet design challenge

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