The catapult is a machine that throws projectiles (items). With this one machine, we can learn about physics, engineering, projectile motion, and kinetic energy.
Let’s start with physics. Physics is a form of math that deals with the motion of everyday objects, like a ball being shot form a catapult. The main laws of physics are Newton’s three laws of motion, but for now we will focus on Newton’s first and third law.
- Newton’s first law, or the law of inertia, “An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.”
- Newton’s third law, “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.”
Continuing off with engineering, it is the design or creation of a new invention, or even developing a new method to make that invention. With engineering, we can create new designs for the catapult for better or for worse.
Projectile motion is the movement of the item that the catapult is launching. With projectile motion and also physics, it is possible to determine where to aim, where the item will land, and how to adjust your aim.
Finally, a catapult teaches kinetic energy. kinetic energy is energy, or even electricity, created by motion (movement).
Now here are some instructions to build a very basic catapult, which you can learn from, and eventually even use engineering to create a new and better design for your catapult.
- 9 Popsicle Sticks
- 1 Bottle Cap
- 3 Small Rubber Bands
- 1 Medium or Big Rubber Band
- Adult Assistance with Hot Glue (Works best, but you can use any other strong glue, or even Elmer’s Glue)
- Take seven Popsicle sticks and stack them upon each other.
- Then take a small rubber band and wrap it around one edge of the stack, and the same thing for the other side with another small rubber band.
- Take the last two Popsicle sticks, stack them upon each other, use the last small rubber band and wrap it onto one of the edges.
- Take the two stack Popsicle stick, spread apart the edge that isn’t held by a rubber band, and slide the seven stack Popsicle stick in between.
- Take the medium or big rubber band and wrap it around the center of your catapult (Adult assistance may be needed)
- On this step, adult assistance is greatly advised, glue your bottle cap to the top Popsicle stick with the opening up.
- Have fun with friends and family and make multiple catapults.
Play some games when you have a chance.