Science, DT, Maths
History - Ancient Civilisations
A series of lessons
Ask, Create, Improve
Dowling rods, rubber bands, mop handles, garden canes
Design a catapult to fire a projectile the furthest distance
Challenge pupils to build a catapult with a range of materials (canes, rods, sticks, rubber bands and bucket for projectile) - don't show them a catapult at this stage. Allow them to fail and then show them a working model (based on a tetrahedron) to copy and try themselves.
Investigate how to build a repeatable and measurable firing system to launch a projectile the furthest distance.
This is a forces experiment - the distance travelled or height reached of the projectile can be measured.
A basic catapult can be built using simple equipment (rods, canes or mop handles).
The challenge comes with making a firing mechanism so that the projectile can be fired repeatedly and consistently - enabling the trajectory and force used to be changed.
1. Build catapult and test it so it fires repeatedly
2. Measure the trajectory and force applied to launch the projectile
3. Alter the variables to see how far the projectile will go
Extension: Introduce the use of pulleys and cam mechanisms and investigate other types of firing mechanisms based on ancient war machines (research needed).
Support: Work in mixed ability groups or use adult support
Decide which is the most effective catapult if different designs have been used and why - link to designs through history if possible.
Build your catapult before you start so you understand how it works.