This January Teays Valley elementary students learned about catapults and the engineering design process which involves problem-solving and building solutions through teamwork, designing, prototyping, testing, rebuilding, and continuing to improve and reevaluate their design solutions.
Students learned the basic catapult design concepts and components. They learned about force, accuracy, precision, and angles – and made engineering connections – engineers apply science, writing, and math concepts early into the design process and prototyping before they’re ready to build final products to meet their clients’ needs.
They also learned how force affects the motion of a projectile, the difference between accuracy and precision, as well as learned the optimum angle for launching a projectile at the farthest distance, being at 45 degrees.
Catapults may be an old technology, but engineers still apply many design concepts to modern applications that need to store potential energy to propel a payload. Examples such as clay pigeon shooting or more complex aircraft catapult take-off for short runways.
Our catapult project was a two-part challenge: 1) apply the engineering design process to build a catapult, and 2) use the catapults in a creative writing challenge. The students worked in groups moving through target stations.
They used their catapults to hit a dynamic target that gave them points, letters, words, and images. The students had to add up their points, look up new vocabulary with the acquired letters, add the words and phrases collected, and finally handwrite a group creative writing narrative that they read out loud to their peers.
- Engineering concepts
- Visual Motor
- Creative Thinking/Storytelling
- Team Communication
- Oral Presentation
*Pictures from Teays Valley Elementary Students registered for the 2023 STEM Club Program.