Projectile Motion Activity
Posted March 1, 2009on:
I’ve been searching for a projectile motion activity/lab for my physical science class. I completely forgot about this one, and I’ve done it for years. We are going to make catapults from popsicle sticks, hot glue, rubber bands, and a spoon.
I like this lab because the hot glue allows for rapid build and repair, and there is a definite need for repair and modification in this project. The kids typically build the frame from the popsicle sticks and then try to attach the spoon with rubber bands. The spoon is the launcher for the catapult. Usually, they find there is no way to connect the rubber bands, so they start adding little posts. The next problem they encounter is the rubber bands aren’t tight enough so the object doesn’t launch very far. They then tighten the rubber bands and the frame starts to collapse. So they need to go back and reinforce the frame.
At this point one of three things happens.
- The catapult is improved and they start launching marshmallows.
- They realize they can rebuild the catapult rather quickly and so start all over and improve their design.
- The catapult falls apart, they attempt improvements, but basically give up.
The picture isn’t a great example, but it is a starting point.