There’s just something about sending an object hurtling through the air that children just can’t get enough of. Catapults lead to so much thinking and learning! Fine motor skills, science, and math are just a few subjects that catapults help children learn about. Have you and your children ever made one, or played with one… inside the home?
Well, this month we want to make it happen! Let’s do a fun STEAM based catapult experiment your child can do no matter the weather! All you need is a few simple materials to get started and have endless fun!
Question: Which material will make the catapult shoot the farthest?
Hypothesis: If the material is heavier then…
*Make sure to ask your #younginventor his hypothesis before moving onto the next step.
- Popsicle sticks (7)
- Rubber bands (3)
- Plastic Spoon
- Mini-marshmallows, Cotton balls, pom poms (or other objects you’d like to launch)
- Stack 4-5 popsicle sticks on top of one another
- Use one rubber band and wrap them on one end of the popsicle sticks to hold the 4-5 together. This will be the base.
- Place a popsicle stick in a perpendicular position in-between the stack (base).
- Use a second rubber band and wrap it around on the other end of the popsicle stack base (Making sure the one perpendicular sticks out of the stack!).
- Place another popsicle stick on top of the stack (base) in a perpendicular position.
- Place the end of the spoon aligned with the last popsicle stick you just placed.
- Wrap a rubber band at the end of the two popsicle sticks that are perpendicular to the stack – there should now be a gap between these two sticks.
- Place either a marshmallow or pom pom onto the spoon and push down the spoon and release to launch your object into the air!
- Measure how far you launched your object!
Let’s make some conclusions! Ask your child:
- Is this what you expected to happen?
- Was your hypothesis correct?
- Does your object launch farther than expected?
- Would using different objects change how far they launch?
- Does the amount you push down the spoon change how far it launches?
Why do the objects launch?
When we pull down on the catapult we are building up potential energy. As Newton’s third law of motion states, an object at rest stays at rest until a force is applied, and an object will stay in motion until something creates an imbalance in the motion. Every action causes a reaction. As you pull the catapult back you can feel the energy build up as it wants to snap back into place, releasing the catapult and all of its energy causes your object to go flying! But that’s not all – gravity also comes into play here as you can see the object move in an arc, falling towards the ground.
Did you know we have a club designed for children ages 4-12 so they can learn the importance of inventions from an early age? As a member of the club, you and your children will learn all about inventions while completing fun, easy STEAM activities. We hope to spark the creativity of every #younginventor!