Second grade scientists study force and motion and simple machines. We learned the history of catapults and the difference between potential and kinetic energy before we constructed a simple catapult. A catapult is a lever with three parts:
Click here for directions on how to make the catapults we made in lab. Although we followed this model, my engineers still had several design choices. Will their loads (snowballs) hit the castle? If not, what changes could make the launch more successful? Twisting rubber bands around the sticks was a new fine motor skill for many of my engineers.
I shared many other ways to build catapults. I challenged these engineers to construct a catapult, using a new design, at home. Click here to watch a middle school catapult competition. Does anyone want to construct one of these?