STEM Activity Catapults Challenge

Rated 4.89 out of 5, based on 386 reviews
386 Ratings
Teachers Are Terrific
Grade Levels
4th - 6th
Formats Included
  • Zip
19 +editable
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What educators are saying

Instant engagement before break! We will be doing it again with other objects. Thanks for all the detailed instructions, tips and photos.
My students loved this activity! We are learning about the Middle Ages in ELA and this was the perfect activity to marry our ELA and Science content.
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This highly engaging experiment and design STEM Challenge is unique! How far can you launch something with a catapult? Can you hit a target or go over a formidable wall? Your students will work together to build a catapult, experiment with different angles, and compete with several performance tasks!

Please note: This challenge is available in money-saving bundles.

What is the challenge?

  • Students construct a working catapult using simple and inexpensive supplies.
  • After the catapults are built students are challenged to use their devices to complete several tasks.
  • The tasks include firing a projectile (pom-pom) at the greatest distance, firing at a target, and firing over an obstacle.
  • The catapults are easy to build, easy to modify, and great fun!
  • This packet will take at least two class sessions to complete.

What is your prep?

You will need supplies in addition to this package. This includes craft sticks, rubber bands, items to launch (Ideas: pom-poms, mini marshmallows, foam balls), and wooden blocks (optional).

The specific contents of this package are:

  • Cover
  • Teacher Overview
  • Materials and Preparation page
  • 10 pages of Step-by-Step Teacher Directions
  • How to Build a Catapult Directions
  • Extensions
  • 1 page of Helpful Hints
  • Simple History of Catapults page
  • 4 pages of Photos
  • 2-page lab sheet with sample answers included in the teacher's directions
  • Scoring rubric
  • Terms of Use
  • All forms are editable!

This Catapult Activity is a GREAT STEM challenge! It is one of our favorites. NOTE: You can watch a short video about this experience: Catapult Video

You might also like these two STEM Fun Challenges:

NOTE: All three Fun Challenge packages may be purchased in money-saving bundles:

Need Job Badges, Job Descriptions, and Job Posters for your STEM Teams? Try these:


You might also enjoy these STEM Challenges!


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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Apply scientific ideas to design, test, and refine a device that converts energy from one form to another. Examples of devices could include electric circuits that convert electrical energy into motion energy of a vehicle, light, or sound; and, a passive solar heater that converts light into heat. Examples of constraints could include the materials, cost, or time to design the device. Devices should be limited to those that convert motion energy to electric energy or use stored energy to cause motion or produce light or sound.
Plan and carry out fair tests in which variables are controlled and failure points are considered to identify aspects of a model or prototype that can be improved.
Use evidence to construct an explanation relating the speed of an object to the energy of that object. Assessment does not include quantitative measures of changes in the speed of an object or on any precise or quantitative definition of energy.
Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or a want that includes specified criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost.
Generate and compare multiple possible solutions to a problem based on how well each is likely to meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.


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