Take the Catapultimate Challenge
Hosted by: UT Austin American Society of Mechanical Engineers
Visit our Booth: Saturday, February 27, 2021, 12 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Recommended Grades: 2nd, 3rd, 4th
The Challenge: Create a wooden catapult to try and shoot your pompom balls as far as possible! Use popsicle sticks, rubber bands, a plastic spoon, tape/glue, and pompom balls, or any other small, lightweight objects you think may be able to safely launch in the air. Be creative in your design and test out ways in which you can make your catapult better and send your pompom balls flying further.
Recommended Materials: 10 popsicle sticks, 5 rubber bands, 1 plastics spoon, tape/glue, pompom balls, or similar small objects (such as eraser tops, marshmallows, cotton balls, etc.)
Instructions: Check out these instructions from Guinness Book of World Records - Science:
Share your design on Flipgrid!
How does this activity connect to STEM and today's Girl Day theme of Designing Fun: Theme Parks, Games and Music? Engineering is all about problem-solving and creating with the materials available to us. Making a catapult out of limited materials such as popsicle sticks or a spoon is a fun challenge to show some of the problems engineers encounter in their design process. To build a catapult, airplane, rollercoaster, or any object/structure with moving parts, there's a lot of physics and math involved to make it work. Some of the physics behind the catapult you designed include:
- spring energy in the rubber band (how much you can stretch the rubber band to launch your pompom?)
- statics/structural integrity (does your catapult stand/stay up when you launch the object?)
Engineers have to consider the physics behind their designs to make sure what they build works for everyday use, and they can improve on them over time, just like how you can keep redesigning and improving your catapults to launch objects even further.
The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) at The University of Texas at Austin is committed to aiding students in their personal and professional development, to building unity among students, and to contributing to the surrounding community. ASME at Texas provides members with opportunities to engage with professional engineers, enjoy fun social events with fellow members, and give back to the community.