NJ Core Curriculum Standards

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					Catapults and Shields                                           Spero, Cooper

Catapults and Shields (Double Period)

NJ Core Curriculum Standards
        CCS Number                  Topic                        Description
5.1.12.A.1              5.1 – Science Practices        Mathematical, physical, and
                        A – Understanding Scientific   computational tools are used
                        Explanations                   to search for and explain core
                                                       scientific concepts and
5.1.12.A.2              5.1 – Science Practices        Interpretation and
                        A – Understanding Scientific   manipulation of evidence-
                        Explanations                   based models are used to build
                                                       and critique
5.1.12.B.1              5.1 – Science Practices        Logically designed
                        B – Generate Scientific        investigations are needed in
                        Evidence Through Active        order to generate the evidence
                        Investigations                 required to build and refine
                                                       models and explanations.
5.1.12.B.2              5.1 – Science Practices        Mathematical tools and
                        B – Generate Scientific        technology are used to gather,
                        Evidence Through Active        analyze, and communicate
                        Investigations                 results.

5.1.12.B.4              5.1 – Science Practices        Scientific reasoning is used to
                        B – Generate Scientific        evaluate and interpret data
                        Evidence Through Active        patterns and scientific
                        Investigations                 conclusions.

5.1.12.C.3              5.1 – Science Practices        Science is a practice in which
                        C – Reflect on Scientific      an established body of
                        Knowledge                      knowledge is continually
                                                       revised, refined, and extended
                                                       as new evidence emerges.
5.1.12.D.1              5.1 – Science Practices        Science involves practicing
                        D – Participate Productively   productive social interactions
                        in Science                     with peers, such as partner
                                                       talk, whole-group discussions,
                                                       and small-group work.

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5.1.12.D.2                     5.1 – Science Practices        Science involves using
                               D – Participate Productively   language, both oral and
                               in Science                     written, as a tool for making
                                                              thinking public.

What Students Should Know
   Energy
       o Kinetic energy
       o System approach
       o Gravitational potential energy
       o Elastic potential energy
       o Work
   ISLE
   Engineering Design Process
Catapults and Shields                                                        Spero, Cooper

Goals of the Lesson
          Conceptual                        Quantitative                         Procedural                   Epistemological
Energy is a conserved quantity.    Work-energy bar charts, work-       Consciously implementing the     What part of the ISLE cycle is
                                   energy conservation formulae.       engineering design process.      this?

To understand energy you need      Size measurement of                 Work in groups effectively and   What parts of the engineering
to define a system.                construction, displacement of       use materials effectively.       design process did you use?
                                   projectile’s flight.                                                 Identify which of your
                                                                                                        activities correlate with parts of
                                                                                                        the process.
Elastic potential energy is                                            Run an observational             In what ways were you aware
another form of energy that can                                        experiment, come up with         of the physics and engineering
come from deformation of any                                           assumptions and patterns.        behind aspects of your task?
object.                                                                                                 Did it help?
Breaking is transfer of internal
energy to kinetic energy.

Building of catapults and
shields involves engineering
disciplines from: civil,
mechanical, bioenvironmental,
and aerospace.
Engineering as a practice
involves focused planning.

The engineering process is
composed of research, design,
testing, redesign, and
communicating results.

                                                                   Page 3
Catapults and Shields                                                      Spero, Cooper

Important Details/Connections
       Physics Content
                 Energy
                   Kinetic energy
                   System approach (Work)
                   Gravitational potential energy
                   Elastic potential energy
                 Work-energy bar charts
                 Possibly rotational dynamics for trebuchet

       Real Life Connections
                 Dams
                 Modern weaponry
                   Bullet-proof vests/shields
                   Armor piercing rounds
                 Angry Birds
                 Carnival games
                 Bowling
                 Darts
                 Car windshields
                 Micrometeorite shielding
                 aurora borealis, aurora australis

Potential Student Difficulties
      Not knowing what a catapult is or any basic construction of one
      Not knowing how to create a throwing mechanism
      Not being able to identify steps in the engineering design process within actual building
      Not understanding conservation of energy in system approach
      Not knowing how to use work-energy bar charts
      Difficulty relating exercises to engineering disciplines
      Difficulty planning and building within time limit

                                             Page 4
Catapults and Shields                                                        Spero, Cooper

                  Tables for groups to sit and work at
                  Indoors or shielded environment due to wind conditions

                  Playing Cards
                  Tape
                  Straws
                  Scissors
                  Rulers
                  Rubber bands
                  Pencils
                  Quarters

Lesson Description
        Good afternoon everyone. Today, we’re going to be trying to recreate the popular game
Angry Birds. Who here can explain to the class the premise behind Angry Birds, and how you
achieve your goals inside the game
        (Projectile flung into shield, crashes into shield trying to break shield, limited tries per
attempt at a specific shield configuration)
        Ok, good, so now that we know the specifics about the game, how do you think we could
recreate the situations in the game? Could we create some type of shield to withstand the impact
of a projectile? Take a look at the handout in front of you. On it, you’ll see a list of available
materials. I want you split into groups of four or five, and take a look at the hand out. Take about
5 minutes to complete the first few portions of the engineering process.
        (Students have 5 minutes to look over the material list and come up with designs for
shield and catapult system, but do not have the material yet. Emphasis on having students sketch
their ideas on paper, using words to describe and plan rather then simply ‘doing’)
        Everyone, you should now have a pretty good idea about what kind of machine you will
build. Come get your materials, and start building. You have approximately 30 minutes, after
which time, we will all demonstrate our systems to the rest of the class. Begin!
        (Allow 30-35 minutes for group construction. Circulate around room, checking on
student progress, following up on Formative Assessments 5-8)
        All right everyone, there is about ten minutes left in the period. By now, you should all
have your designs built, tested, and if needed, reimagined. Let’s show our designs to the rest of
the class. Then pick another group to test your launcher and shield with.

        (Go around in a circle, having each group show off their design, talk a bit about where
their design idea came from, and what redesigns they made go through, check formative
assessment 9.)
        Lesson Part the Second

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        Okay, now that we’ve seen how the projectile is flung, let’s try to identify exactly what
happened, and what we saw. As you remember, we’ve been dealing with energy, and how the
energy of a system is conserved, so what I want you to do now, individually is to draw an energy
bar chart and pick the first instant as just when you release the projectile, but before it has moved
and the second point wherever you wish. Do you notice anything odd? Or is there something you
are having difficulty with? Compare with a neighbor.
        So far we have only discussed 2 forms of energy: kinetic energy and gravitational
potential energy of the system. Now depending on what system you chose your bar charts will
have different columns. But in many of your second instants I see kinetic and gravitational
potential energy, but nothing in the beginning. Where did the system get the energy from?
        (If students say work, then ask them to elaborate and identify the two objects exerting
forces on one another that causes the work to be done on the system. If students have mechanism
inside system then bring up the possibility of a new form of energy. Ask them to name this
        What realistic situations can you think of that are similar to this? That involves this new
form of energy? What do these situations have in common? Why do you think this type of
energy exists? Come up with a way to quantitatively figure out the mathematical form of this
new type of energy with your catapult.
Catapults and Shields                                            Spero, Cooper

Time Table
    Clock Reading During   Title of Activity – Connection
                                                                  Students Doing                      Teacher Doing
            Lesson                    to Goals
0-5 minutes                Hook-Angry Birds               Listening                           Setting up situation for
                                                                                              students, handing out dittos

5-10 minutes               Planning                       Looking at materials list and       Showing materials and making
                                                          sketching possible plans for        sure students are planning and
                                                          catapult and shield                 writing
10-40 minutes              Building/Testing/Redesigning   Building, testing, redesigning      Going around and helping
                                                          and filling in worksheet for        students with specific tasks like
                                                          engineering design process          cutting or getting materials, not
                                                          steps                               helping with design or redesign
40-50 minutes              Symposium                      Students discuss as a class their   Holding symposium timing,
                                                          thought process and how their       leading questions, bringing out
                                                          design changed from beginning       engineering design process
                                                          to end and why and go around
                                                          from group to group
50-55 minutes              Testing                        Seeing if catapult or shield        Recording observations
                                                          works to specifications

55-60 minutes              What Would I Change?           Taking 5 minutes to write           Make sure everything is
                                                          down what further changes           written down on worksheet.
                                                          would be made to design.
60-75 minutes              Bar Charts                     Constructing work-energy bar        Helping students who have
                                                          charts for 2 instances in           difficulty making bar charts
                                                          projectile’s flight, comparing      and identifying types of energy
                                                          with neighbors’                     in each situation or choosing a

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75-80 minutes   Something Missing   Trying to figure out what is     Leading questions.
                                    missing or wrong from work-
                                    energy bar charts. Anything
80-90 minutes   ISLE Obs Exp.       Coming up with a quantitative    Asking students to come up
                                    observational experiment to      with name for new form of
                                    investigate new form of energy   energy and asking them to
                                                                     come up with experiment.
Catapults and Shields                                                       Spero, Cooper

Formative Assessments
   1. Can students construct a work-energy bar chart?
           a. Define a system
           b. Kinetic, GPE
           c. Unknown energy
   2. When not knowing about EPE, will students see in their charts that something is missing?
   3. Ask students for ideas of what in or out of the system has energy that is transferred to the
   4. Can students list other materials or devices than can act similarly in transferring this kind
       of energy?
   5. Is worksheet filled out with engineering design process steps?
   6. Have students identified what kind of ISLE cycle experiment this is?
   7. Students can identify at least 2 different disciplines of engineering involved in process.
   8. Can students construct a working catapult and shield?
   9. Does catapult and shield fulfill requirements and goals
   10. Can students use work-energy bar charts to come up with a quantitative observational
       experiment for elastic potential energy?

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