Who doesn’t love shooting objects across the room?! Use your engineering skills to build an amazing catapult. Using just a few materials, these popsicle stick catapults will provide hours of fun. Challenge yourself to see how far objects can be flung across the room!
What you need:
- Kraft sticks or tongue depressors (2 for each catapult)
- Popsicle sticks (8 for each catapult)
- Rubber bands (3 for each catapult)
- Milk lid (1 for each catapult)
- Small objects to catapult (pom poms, mini marshmallows, erasers, etc).
What you do:
- Place one popsicle stick on the table.
- Lay one of the tongue depressors on top of the popsicle stick.
- Stack seven more popsicle sticks on top of the tongue depressor.
- Wrap a rubber band around each end of the popsicle sticks.
- Place the second tongue depressor to the top of the other tongue depressor to form a triangle like “tweezer” design. (see photo)
- Wrap the third rubber band around the tips of the tongue depressors to hold in place.
- Hot glue the milk lid to the end of the tongue depressor on the top as a container for the objects to be catapulted. Leave a bit of space to put your fingers to “launch” your catapult.
- Now select your objects and place one at a time into the milk lid.
- Holding the tip of the tongue depressors with one hand, use the other hand to push down with 1 or 2 fingers on the top of the tongue depressor and let fly!
- Who can catapult their objects the farthest?
Why does it work?
When an object is put in the catapult and it is pulled back, energy that is stored in the tongue depressor (in this case), becomes tension energy and when released, the stored energy is transferred to kinetic energy of the object and the object moves in the direction in which catapult is facing.