Activity

Catapult from popsicle sticks

Summary
Build a simple catapult from popsicle sticks
Science content
Physics: Motion and Forces, Newton’s Laws, Gravity (K, 2, 6)
Physics: Simple and complex Machines (5)
Lessons activity is in
Materials
  • 8 regular popsicle sticks
  • saw
  • 2 jumbo popsicle sticks
  • 3 elastic bands
  • tin foil
Procedure

Use a saw to make a notch on either side of both jumbo popsicle sticks, about 2cm from one end.

Stack up 8 regular popsicles sticks. Insert the notched-end of one jumbo popsicle stick between the bottom two of the stack. Wrap the stack of 8 tightly with elastic bands on each side.
Lay the second jumbo popsicle stick over the top of the stack, with its notched end aligned with the jumbo stick tied into the stack. Wrap an elastic band around both jumbo sticks, making sure that it rests in the notches.

Make tin foil balls to fire with the catapult. They will go about 1m into the air.

Notes

This catapuls are always pulled down by the same amount, and different-sized ammunition (e.g. marshmallows) go reproducible distances. Can show F=ma

Grades taught
Gr K
Teaching site
Shaughnessy Elementary