how to build a catapult

Document Sample

```					Making Marshmallow Catapults
1.   Overview
2.   Introduction
3.   Materials
4.   Instructions
5.   Activity Questions
6.   Assessment
7.   Suggestions for Expanding the Activity
8.   Learning Standards
o Early Elementary
o Late Elementary
o National Standards

Overview
During this hands-on activity, students will be able to make their own marshmallow catapults.
This activity demonstrates concepts related to levers, a simple machine. This activity is simple
and inexpensive, yet it provides endless possibilities for lesson expansion and fullfillment of
learning standards.

Introduction
Related Concepts

The concept that will be focused on for this lesson is the lever, a simple machine.

Background Information

When you push or pull on an object, you are exerting a force. People exert this force to move
objects from one place to another. This exerted force is called work.

There are six simple machines for performing work. The lever is one of these simple machines.
A lever consists of a plank that is free at both ends, and a steady object on which the plank can
rest. The object that does not move is called the fulcrum. The object that one is trying to move is
called the load. The distance from the load to the fulcrum is called the effort arm.
In this activity, students will build a lever that will move the load, which is the marshmallow.

Getting the Lesson Started!

Here are some potential discussion questions:

1. What is a simple machine?
2. What is a lever?
3. What kind of objects do you think of when you hear the word lever?

Materials
•   2 erasers
•   1 mousetrap
•   2 popsicle sticks
•   1 rubber band
•   1 spoon
•   duct tape

Instructions
1. Pull back the mousetrap lever. Place the rubber band around the base of the mousetrap
and the lever to hold the lever in place.

2. Fasten one of the erasers to the mousetrap using a piece of duct tape. The long end of the
eraser should be up against the fulcrum of the mousetrap.

3. Tape a second eraser on top of the first eraser so that the second eraser is slightly over the
fulcrum. Place tape around both of the erasers.
4. Carefully remove the rubber band from the lever, and slowly bring it to stand next to the
erasers.

5. Tape one of the popsicle sticks to the lever so that it is perpendicular with the lever. This
will support the catapult arm.

6. Tape another popsicle stick to the lever so that it is parallel with the lever. This will
extend the arm of your catapult.
7. On the end of the second popsicle stick, rubber band or tape your plastic spoon.

8. Your catapult is ready for use! When using the catapult, always make sure to hold down
the base.

Activity Questions

1. If the effort arm of a lever is shortened, what happens to the force needed to make the
2. Levers are all around us. List two levers that people use all the time.
3. True or False. Using a a lever to lift a load is easier than lifting it alone.
4. What is a fulcrum?
5. Explain what force is.
6. What kind of lever would you see on a car?

Assessment
Assessment Background

Our assessment methods were the same for Illinois and National Standards.

Our assessment methods were the same and for Early and Late Elementary School students.
What changed was the level of the questions asked and the discussion.

During the Lesson

The participants used inquiry strategies to determine how to build their marshmallow catapults.
Participants discussed how successful other materials would be for the catapult. Throughout the
lesson, the participants discussed how catapults are used in science, technology, and society.

At the End of the Lesson

At the conclusion of the lesson, a discussion was held to determine the level of participant
understanding of how a catapult is built and how it works. The discussion also encouraged
students to think critically about how this device can be used in society.

Here is a sample of questions from that discussion:

•   What are levers used in society?
•   What types of levers are around us?
•   What is the realtionship between force and distance?
•   How can force be measured?

Each of the children who participated in the lesson was able to answer these questions at his/her
own level.
Suggestions for Expanding the Activity
Math can be integrated into the lesson by having the students measure the distance that the
objects are catapulted. Participants may want to vary the objects that are catapulted. From this,
participants may make a connection between mass of the object and the distance it is catapulted.

Before the exercise, participants can first build a simple lever to help them understand the
concept. Participants can make a simple lever by arranging a book and a ruler near the edge of a
desk as shown below:

Let the ruler hang over the edge of the desk about 8 inches. Then apply force to the end of the
ruler to lift the book.

Now let the ruler hang over the edge of the desk by 4 inches and apply force. In which situation
is less force required?

Early Elementary

Subject                    Goal                       Standard               Application to this
Lesson
Science          State Goal 11:              A. Know and apply the        Participants will be asked
Understand the processes    concepts, principles and     to follow the instructions
of scientific inquiry and   processes of scientific      in order to assemble the
technological design to     inquiry.                     marshmallow catapult.
investigate questions,                                   Participants will be using
conduct experiments, and        •   1a. Desribe an       the tools provided to build
solve problems.                     observed event.      the catapult and will
•   1f. Compare          compare results with other
observations of      participants.
individual and
group results.

B. Know and apply the
concepts, principles, and
processes of technological
design.

•   1c. Build the
device using the
tools and materials
provided.

Science          State Goal 13:              A.Know and apply the           Participants will discuss
Understand the              accepted practices of          and explain the procedure
relationships among         science.                       for making marshmallow
science, technology, and                                   catapults. They will
society in historical and       •   1a. Use basic          discuss the success of their
contemporary contexts.              safety practices       device and also discuss
(e.g., stop, drop      how a different load would
and roll).             change the effectiveness of
•   1b. Explain why        the device.
similiar results are
expected when
procedures are
done the same
way.
•   1c. Explain how
knowledge can be
gained by careful
observation.

English/Language Arts   State Goal 1: Read with C. Comprehend a broad           Participants will use the
understanding and fluency. range of reading materials.  information they gathered
•   1a. Use             marshmallow catapults to
form questions and levers. Participants were
verify predictions. also asked to determine
which type of lever the
catapult is.
English/Language Arts   State Goal 3: Write to      C. Communicate ideas in     Participants will answer
communicate to a variety    writing to accomplish a     various questions about
of purposes.                variety of purposes.        their experience and about
levers. They will also be
•   1a. Write for a     required to draw pictures
variety of purposes illustrating what occurred
including           when they tested their
description,        device.
information,
explanation,
persuasion, and
narration.

English/Language Arts   State Goal 4: Listen         A. Listen effectively in     At the beginning of the
and speak effectively in a   formal and informal          lesson, participants are
variety of situations.       situations.                  given oral and written
instructions to assist them
• 1b. Ask questions with the activity. Their
and respond to     success is based on how
questions from the effectively they follow the
teacher and from given instructions. At the
group members to end of the lesson,
improve            participants are involved
comprehension.     in a discussion that
• 1c. Follow oral       requires them to listen
instructions       effectively to the
accurately.        questions. Participation is
encouraged from every
student during the
B. Speak effectively using
discussion at the end of the
language appropriate to the
lesson.
situation and audience.

•    1a. Present brief
oral reports, using
language and
vocabulary
appropriate to the
message and
audience (e.g.,
show and tell).
•    1b. Participate in
discussions around
a common topic.

Late Elementary

Subject                     Goal                        Standard             Application to this Lesson
Science           State Goal 11:               A. Know and apply the         Participants will be asked
Understand the processes     concepts, principles and      to follow the instructions
of scientific inquiry and    processes of scientific       in order to assemble the
technological design to      inquiry.                      marshmallow catapult.
investigate questions,                                     Participants will be using
conduct experiments, and         •    2b. Collect data for the tools provided to build
solve problems.                       investigations       the catapult and will
using scientific     compare results with other
process skills       participants.
including
observing,
estimating and
measuring.
B. Know and apply the
concepts, principles, and
processes of technological
design.

•   2c. Build a
prototype of the
design using
available tools and
materials.
•   2d. Test the
prototype using
suitable
instruments,
techniques, and
quantitative
measurements to
record data.
•   2e. Assess test
results and the
effectiveness of
the design using
given criteria and
noting possible
sources of error.

Science          State Goal 13:              A. Know and apply the      Participants will discuss
Understand the              accepted principles of     and explain the procedure
relationships among         science.                   for making marshmallow
science, technology, and                               catapults. They will
society in historical and       •   2a. Demonstrate    discuss the success of their
contemporary contexts.              ways to avoid      device and also discuss
injuries while     how a different load would
conducting science change the effectiveness of
activities.        the device.

English/Language Arts   State Goal 1: Read with C. Comprehend a broad             Participants will use the
understanding and fluency. range of reading materials.    information they gathered
•   2d. Summarize         marshmallow catapults to
generalizations       levers. Participants were
from content and      also asked to determine
relate to purpose     which type of lever the
of material.          catapult is.

English/Language Arts   State Goal 3: Write to      C. Communicate ideas in     Participants will answer
communicate to a variety    writing to accomplish a     various questions about
of purposes.                variety of purposes.        their experience and about
levers. They will also be
•   2a. Write for a     required to draw pictures
variety of purposes illustrating what occurred
and for specified   when they tested their
audiences in a      device.
variety of forms.

English/Language Arts        State Goal 4: Listen and A. Listen effectively in           At the beginning of the
speak effectively in a        formal and informal           lesson, participants are
variety of situations.        situations.                   given oral and written
instructions to assist them
• 2c. Restate and        with the activity. Their
carry out a variety succes is based on how
of oral             effectively they follow the
instructions.       given instructions. At the
end of the lesson,
participants are involved in
B. Speak effectively using
a discussion that requires
language appropriate to the
them to listen effectively
situation and audience.
to the questions.
Participation is encouraged
• 2b. Use speaking from every student during
skills and          the discussion at the end of
procedures to       the lesson.
participate in
group discussions.

National Learning Standards that Apply to this Lesson

Application to this
Standard                                     Level
Lesson
Participants will use scientific
K-4, 5-8, 9-12                         reasoning and critical thinking while
Abilities to do scientific inquiry     designing their marshmallow
6.1 Science as Inquiry                                                 catapults. Participants will ask
K-4, 5-8, 9-12                         questions, conduct investigations, and
Understanding about scientific inquiry gather information to help them
understand how a lever is made.
K-4                                       Participants are introduced to the
Position and motion of objects            different types of levers and how each
is used. Students are first asked to
5-8                                       build a simple lever consisiting of a
6.2 Physical Science
Motions and forces                        ruler and a book. Once they have
completed this, they will build the
9-12                                      marshmallow catapult, a third-class
Motions and forces                        lever.
Participants were involved in a
discussion that explained how the
design of the catapult moved the
K-4, 5-8, 9-12
6.5 Science and Technology                                                  marshmallow (or other object).
Abilities of technological design