Thursday, August 14, 2014

Fizz, Boom, Read!: Catapult Science

Next on my list of SRP programs to catch readers up on is the Catapult Science program I did for Grades 3-6. I originally got the idea for this program from Lisa Mulvenna of Lisa's Libraryland. I knew it would be a fun and easy program to do for this summer's theme and definitely wanted to give it a try.

For the first half of the program I followed Lisa's plan, with a few minor changes. I set out popsicle sticks, plastic spoons, rubber bands, and Lisa's handout and talked to the kids about what a catapult is and how they were used. They especially loved the gross tidbit that sometimes catapults were used to launch diseased corpses.

After that, I guided the kids in building their catapults. Most of them did pretty well, although a few did need some extra help. Here's what the finished product looked like:

After building the catapults the kids got the chance to fire them. Here's where the few minor changes come in. I provided printed out targets for the kids to tape on the wall with scotch tape. After reading that Lisa's director wasn't a fan of masking tape on the wall I didn't want to risk it with mine!

I also provided paper and markers for the kids to design their own targets. I figured this could add a little artistic element into this STEAM program. The kids came up with some great stuff!

Sorry Beliebers!

Some even created mock castle walls after hearing how catapults used to be used in warfare.

The second half of this program I changed course and had the kids make a different kind of projectile device: a marshmallow shooter. I've had the kids make these before at a Marshmallow Madness program I did. They are super simple. They consist of a cup with the bottom cut out, which is covered with the tied end of a balloon. You place the marshmallow in the cup, pull the balloon back and launch it.

I wanted to include the Marshmallow shooters so that the kids would have the chance to try more than one device and compare. I was glad I did because they made some great comparisons. One boy said that in both devices the farther you pull back the farther you can launch something. Others compared how the marshmallows launched to how the pompoms launched.

This was a fun program and a great way to end our school age programming for the summer. Thanks so much for sharing Lisa!

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