Catapult

ACTIVITY HEADER

 

 

 

Name of Activity Catapult
Author Kara Miranda
Keywords design, challenge, build catapult, launch, LEGO, not classroom tested, k-3, 4-6, 7-9, prototype, Engineering Design Process, lever, fulcrum, force, load
Subject Simple Machines, LEGO Building
Grade Level K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9+
Time 2 Hours Total
Brief Description An design challenge in which students will design and build a catapult and see which design will launch an object the furthest. This activity can use either Lego or non-Lego pieces. *This activity is not classroom tested.*
Lesson Objectives: To apply building techniques and knowledge about levers to an activity challenge.
Materials Needed: Simple Machine or RCX kits
Example photos of catapults
Assortment of extra LEGO pieces, especially beams
Engineer’s Planning Sheet
Plastic spoons
Rubber bands
Tongue depressors
Glue
Tape
Ruler (yardstick or tape measure)
Preparation and Set Up: Collect necessary materials

Photocopy worksheets
Arrange students into groups of 2

Decide how you will distribute extra pieces and other materials

Write design requirements on the board

Find a section of the floor at least 15 feet long and put tape down on one side. Students will place their finished catapults on this line and launch the object from there, and the teacher can measure how far it has gone.

Necessary Background Review three different classes of levers.

Vocabulary:
Prototype
Engineering Design Process

Catapult
Lever (first, second, and third class)
Fulcrum
Force
Load

Procedure
    • Tell students that in this challenge they will be making a catapult. Explain to them what a catapult is, making sure to go into levers and its three different classes. A catapult can mean any machine that hurls a projectile. Students can use either Legos or non-Lego materials to create their catapult.
    • Show students different pictures and/or videos of catapults, explaining what they do and how they work. Explain the engineering design process.
    • Tell them the requirements for their catapults. Examples of requirements are:
    •       Must be six inches tall
    •       Must launch a ball at least 6 feet
    • Allow the class to brainstorm different ideas for their catapult design. Have them plan out and draw their design on the engineering planning sheet.
  • Distribute materials and have students start building.
    • After students finish building their catapults, have them place their catapult on the line and launch an object (preferably something that will not roll, perhaps a Lego piece). Measure how far the catapult launched the object.
  • After the students finish, review the activity with the class. Have them share their ideas, ask groups to explain what the hardest part of the challenge was, etc.
Extensions: Have students redesign their catapult to make it launch objects even further.
Have a class-wide competition to see whose catapult launches the furthest.
Reference 1 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/111_image_1.jpg
Reference 2 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/111_image_2.jpg
Reference 3 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/Building_Design_Sheet3.pdf

Simple Pulleys

ACTIVITY HEADER

 

 

 

Name of Activity Simple Pulleys
Author STOMP
Keywords pulley, effort, load, Simple Machines
Subject Simple Machines
Grade Level K, 1, 2, 3
Time 1 Hour Total
Brief Description Students will learn the basic concept of a pulley and how it is used to life weights.
Lesson Objectives: - To familiarize students with pulleys.
- Introduce a simple machine.
Materials Needed: - LEGO Simple Machines kits.
- Weight.
- String.
Preparation and Set Up: - Photocopy one worksheet per student.
- Gather materials.
- Arrange students in pairs.
- Distribute materials.
Necessary Background Pulleys are simple machines that allow us to lift heavier loads by increasing the distance
required to lift the load (just like levers).Vocabulary:
Pulley
Effort
Load
Procedure
  1. Have students design a pulley on a lego wall that will lift a load up off the table to the top of the wall.
  2. Let student brainstorm what their pulley should look like.
    1. The pulley should have a string wound-up to an axle on the base of the pulley structure.
    2. The pulley should have a solid base and wall to support the pulley wheel when the weight is being lifted.
    3. If possible (depending on age and ability), students should build a container to place the weight in at the top of the wall.
    4. If possible, the pulley should be able to rotate to move the weight into the box at the top of the wall.
    5. Have students brainstorm by drawing out their design on their activity worksheet.
  3. Have students build and test their designs.
  4. When everyone is done let students demonstrate their designs.
    1. Discuss how pulleys make lifting the object easier.
    2. Discuss difficulties and successes students had in this activity.
Extensions or Modifications: - Make the pulley work by using a motor.
Reference 1 http://sites.tufts.edu/stompactivitydatabase/files/formidable/pulley1.pdf

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