Written by Pavithra Murugan

Catapults are devices used to launch objects using the simple principles of force and projectile motion. In this activity, children will have to build a catapult to move a simple object from one place to another. Building a catapult combines multiple concepts in mathematics and basic science while providing hands-on fun. This activity’s major focus is to encourage students to think of science-based solutions to overcome simple day-to-day challenges. Once children build their catapults, its success can be measured according to the condition set by the facilitator. Now, let’s get started!

### Jump to instructions

### Resources needed per team

Ice cream sticks

Rubber bands

Paper cups

Plastic spoons

Scissors

Sellotape

### Time Needed

40 minutes of activity + 5 minutes of execution per team

### Skill(s) Focussed

Problem Solving | Collaboration | Creativity

### Aligned Profession(s)

Mechanical Engineering | Scientist

### Instructions to be given to students

Step 0:

A simple object should be launched into a distance by building a catapult with the given materials. Make sure you also have bottle caps/cotton balls/lightweight balls/marbles to launch using the catapult.

The success of the catapult can be measured by the distance travelled by the launched object or by measuring the power of the launched object.

Step 1:

Begin the activity by asking the children to brainstorm with their team on design ideas for the catapult, using the available materials.

Step 2:

After designing, each team can gather the required materials and start constructing their catapult.

Step 3:

Once the teams have built their catapults, it’s time to put it to test! Pick the object that is to be launched, and launch it.

Step 4:

Measure the distance to which each catapult launches the object.

You can also construct a simple tower using paper cups and check the power with which the catapult has launched the object by checking if the object knocks over the paper cup tower.

### Special Instructions for Facilitators

Incorporate math into the activity

Bring in math concepts such as averaging, and ask students to average the distance travelled by the object for 3 consecutive trials. Further, children can also graph the results of all the catapults constructed in the Prayogshala and analyse the variation.

Discuss science concepts

Converse about the principles used in building the catapult such as force and motion. Introduce the concept of simple machines and ask them to identify the kind of simple machine a catapult is.

Further, you can also ask children to think of real-world objects that make use of the same principle.

Set resource constraints

A fully-functioning catapult can be built using different sets of materials. Encourage children to come up with a functional design that uses the least resources. You can also reduce the number of objects you provide and watch children come up with innovative designs with the simplest of materials.

Ensure decorum and safety

Since this activity involves launching an object, ensure that children do not aim objects at one another, that they are respectful of one another, and that use the given materials with posing any danger to the others.

Have fun making and share the works of your students with the hashtag #projectprayogshala to get featured!

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