Thursday, November 19, 2015

Science with Catapults

Hi, It's Anita Goodwin here from I Live 2 Learn I Love 2 Grow with a super fun activity to share. I've always loved "Hands On Science" and so do my students. While recently studying force in our classroom I came across a neat blog post by Frugal For Boys using popsicle stick catapults and thought it would be fun to explore catapults in the classroom. I decided to use some "fallish" things to shoot in them. I happened to have 2 bags of those plastic spiders in my closet and knew they would work and it would be interesting to compare them with candy corn to see which we could shoot the furthest. I loved the suggestion in the post to use the bands from the loom bracelets and made a quick trip to Walmart to buy some sticks and bands. It cost around $6.00 and was money well spent.

My husband helped me make a couple of catapults to use as examples for the students. We had fun trying them out in our living room before I took them to school the next day. I put my students in groups of 2 and gave them 12 popsicles sticks and a small hand full of the loom bands. I told them they could look at the samples and they could make their own. They needed to figure out exactly how to put them together. There was no perfectly right way and they could do it any way they wanted. They could also have more popsicle sticks and bands if they needed. My second graders were so engaged at putting their catapults together. Not one group of partners needed any help. After they finished, I hot glued on the plastic lids. We set them up to use the next day.

(Note: Catapults can be used immediately after hot glueing. If using tacky or Elmer's squeeze glue let dry overnight. We did have some trouble with a few lids coming off the sticks. If I had time I just quickly reglued them otherwise I just had them shoot their objects without them.)

We had lots of fun shooting the candy corn and spiders and comparing them. We even had a class competition. The two furthest shooters competed against each other while the class watched and recorded. The next day we used used Snapple lids and milk jug lids. The blank sheets included in my catapult set can be used to record any objects you have.

Click here to get your FREEBIE recording sheet. 

I strongly recommend this activity for teamwork, thinking skills, science, math, measuring, predicting and confirming, etc. Get this freebie here to record your own catapult fun. I hope your students enjoy this activity as much as my students did.

You can also check out my set on TPT which includes many more recording sheets.