Kara Noel: How to Make a Mini Catapult
In honor of the Discovery Cube’s Annual Pumpkin Launch, we made mini catapults with craft sticks, and now I want to teach you how to make a catapult! They are super easy to make, and you probably have all the supplies around your house already…
We also used this as our science lesson. (More about that at the mid-way thought this post)
I taught the kids about force, mass, leverage. And about horizontal and vertical distances.
How to make a catapult…
- Stack 6 craft sticks and wrap a rubber band tightly around each end into a bundle. (Science Note: You can experiment with different sized stacks!)
2. Take 2 more craft sticks and wrap a rubber band on one of the ends.
3. Insert the 7-stick-bundle between the 2-stick-stack and stretch a rubber band criss cross to connect the two pieces. (Science Note: The closer the bundle is to the wrapped edge, the more LEVERAGE the catapult will have)
4. Use 2-4 rubber bands to attach the plastic spoon to the end. (Science Note: Experiment with how far up or down on the craft stick you place the spoon.)
Happy pajama catapult launching!
We had launch competitions for distance and height. You can also try launching things of different weight.
If you want to make this part of a science lesson then here are some things to talk about.
Weight verses Mass
1. Mass is a measurement of the amount of matter something contains
2. Weight is the measurement of the pull of gravity on an object.
3. Weight is measured on a scale.
4. An object’s mass doesn’t change it’s location changes. Weight can change with location.
To illustrate weight with the catapults we launched things of different weights and took note of their different distances.
Horizontal Distance and Vertical Height
1. Horizontal – parallel to the horizon. “side-to-side” (Great to talk about the horizon here too!)
2. Vertical – right angle to the horizon; top is directly above the bottom. “up-and-down”
To illustrate with the catapults, use painters tape to mark the horizontal distance different objects travel. Use painters tape on the wall to mark the vertical height different objects travel. Measure the distances and compare the differences.
Force and Leverage
1. Force – strength or energy as an attribute of physical action or movement.
2. Leverage – the exertion of force by means of a lever or an object used in the manner of a lever.
Illustrate leverage by experimenting with different placement of the stack between the 2 sticks and force by the pressure you put on the spoon while launching.
Then go to the Discovery Cube’s Annual Pumpkin Launch on Saturday to show you kids the real thing! Giant trebuchets for dayz!
You will have the best time ever.
Because events like these make forever-memories with your family.
Saturday, November 7th from 10am-2pm.
At Cal State Fullerton: 800 N State College Blvd, Fullerton, CA 92831
There will be food trucks but you can bring a pack lunch.
Pack picnic blankets or lawn chairs to watch in comfort!
Check out Kara Noel’s blog, Small Things Are Big Things.