With the completion of our team building activity, we are now ready to introduce our students to the STEM(science, technology, engineering and mathematics) activities. It is important to show the students how applying science concepts can be integral in solving real-world problems and also how one can implement the science concepts that they learn from textbooks in the real world through the process of making. Our list of STEM activities is a perfect blend of collaboration, scientific thinking, and loads of fun.

So, let’s get started and let the students enjoy their first activity in the STEM category!

## Time taken:

50 mins

## Resources needed per student:

Ice cream sticks / Old Newspaper

Rubber bands

Plastic spoons

Scissors

Sellotape

## Objective:

The objective of the session is:

Catapult Challenge: An activity to encourage students to come up with science-based solutions

## Skill(s) Focussed:

Problem Solving | Creativity | Critical thinking

## Aligned Profession(s):

Mechanical Engineering | Scientist

## Catapult Challenge:

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!

## Instruction Video:

Paper catapult:

## 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 decide the design ideas for the catapult, using the available materials.

### Step 2:

After designing, each student can gather the required materials and start constructing their catapult. If ice cream sticks are unavailable, then inspiration can be taken from the paper catapult instruction video.

### Step 3:

Once the students have built their catapults, it’s time to put it to test! Ask them to pick the object that is to be launched and launch it.

### Step 4:

Finally, measure the distance to which each catapult launches the object.

Students 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.

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 they can use for the activity 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 anyone, that they are respectful of other people (at home, in case of online sessions), and that they use the given materials without posing any danger to others.

## Wrapping up the session:

Now that you’ve completed the first STEM activity, it is time to emphasize the ease of creating anything based on the science concepts they have learnt so far. Encourage the students to think of other science activities they can perform in future sessions.

Inform the students regarding the resources they need to have ready for the next session to ensure they have enough time to organize it. Finally, end the session on a joyful note saying you look forward to all the amazing things children are going to create in this space!

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

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