As part of my unit on projectile motion, I will have my students build marshmallow catapults. Students are more aware of the principles of projectile motion these days due to the popularity of the game Angry Birds. By building their own catapult, they can bring the game to life.
A Google Image search of “marshmallow catapult” brings up lots of good ideas. Some of my favs:
- Popsicle sticks
- Rubber bands
- Plastic spoons
- Plastic bottle tops
- Binder clips
Although any household or office supplies could be used.
Students will build their catapults, measure the distance and travel time, and then use kinematic equations to find the maximum height of trajectory.
Extensions of this activity could include challenging students to shoot the farthest, the most accurate, and to hit several targets.