How Far Will It Go?

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, no, it’s a marshmallow launched by a middle school catapult. Students work in teams to build a catapult, testing and modifying the catapult to change energy output and maximize the course of flight. Hands-on engineering and the application of math provide a real-world experience. A look back at the history of the catapult and types of ballistic devices add a further dimension to this multifaceted seminar.

Faculty: Melissa McQueen - Math 7

Dates Offered

March 8, 2019
March 15, 2018

Explore More

Interested in exploring this topic more deeply?

  • Go to:  To view the video students watched about the fascinating history of the catapult click here.

  • At home: Keep building! The Art of the Catapult and the Big Book of Catapult Plans are two books offering plans for building a variety of catapults. Parental supervision definitely required.

  • Movie night: Watch an epic catapult scene in Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. This movie is the third installment in the Lord of the Rings trilogy and won eleven academy awards. Rated PG-13.

Why Catapults?

Kinetic and potential energy are present in kids’ everyday lives, most obviously in sports, and are key engineering concepts. Building catapults provides a forum for testing, redesigning, and retesting. Students build more than catapults: they develop persistence, skills in observation and collaboration.