DIY Catapult

consider this

For this activity, you will design a catapult! The catapult should be able to launch a projectile (ping pong ball, cotton ball, marshmallow, or any soft object that won’t do any damage) across the room and into a target (container, bowl, bucket, etc.). Your catapult must be free-standing - it can be attached to a table but it shouldn't rely on you holding it up. You are building a catapult not a slingshot!

key terms

force: (noun) influence that results in motion, stress, etc. when applied

lever: (noun) bar or board that rests on a support like a seesaw. a downward force on one end of the bar makes it easier to raise the other end

fulcrum: (noun) pivot about which a lever turns

mechanics: (noun) branch of physics concerned with the motion of bodies


design a solution

generate an idea

What features of a catapult are important? What is the best launch mechanism? How can you maximize the throw distance?

design and build a prototype

What will you use to build your catapult? Do you need strong and flexible materials, or sturdy and durable materials? Do you want your catapult arm to be long or short?

share your idea

Film a short (max 2 min) video pitch of your invention. Make sure to include details like what materials you used, what problems/issues you had and how you resolved or overcame them? Share the measurements of your longest throw as well! Have fun! Upload/share your video to Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. Don't forget to tag us!

example solutions

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