Students will be given this packet, along with a collection of parts, and divided into groups of 2-4.
Each group must create three designs using only the materials that are given to them. Upon completing their designs, they will choose one to build.
Upon completing their packets, each team / group will go compete against another team / group to see who can hit a target first. Winner moves on to the next round, until your bracket is finished. Typically, targets are set up between five and ten feet apart (teams can move anywhere within this distance. Normally, I use the shop tables for this by dividing one in half with a taped line, and each team can launch from any location on their side of the table. Targets are set on the front edge of another table set five feet away from the launching table. I use the tables to eliminate the possibility of bouncing into the target, and any shot that are short will hit the table and not roll too far. Setting up a cardboard "wall" behind the table will also keep the projectiles from rolling away.
Each team gets only one weight to use during competition, and ALL Team members must be behind the catapult when it is fired. Only one team member may leave the launch area to retrieve their weight, and then must return to the launch area before it can be fired again. All matchups are "sudden death" and take anywhere from less than a minute, to as much as twenty minutes.
If repairs are needed, they can be made, but the opposing team can still keep firing.
My students look forward to this one each year!
Supplies needed for each team: 12 craft/popsicle sticks, 1 Steel rod (I use CO2 car axles), 1 flat balsa strip (1 inch wide and 6 inches long), 3 rubber bands of varying sizes, 1 plastic spoon, 1 cable/zip tie, 1 sheet of blank copy paper, 1 large paper clip, and 1 straw.
Not all items are required to be used in the designs.