Catapult of awesomeness

Catapult parts
My wife accused me of trying to be Jack Black with the title of this post. Although I do look pretty fantastic in wrestling tights, I don’t have his kung fu or guitar skills. Instead, I have to rely on my skills with a hot glue gun. This week I have posted about all sorts of domestic stuff so it’s about time for a little manly mayhem!

Homemade Catapult
The kids and I made a catapult last night. I recently finished out a bottle of medicine and hated to see the bottle just go into the recycle bin.  The bottle is just too pretty… I mean, the color  instills fear in the recipient of the catapult’s action! Anyhow, with a few minutes, a couple of pieces of scrap wood and a hot glue gun, we made a catapult which we used to launch Jolly Ranchers into Isaac’s mouth.

Homemade Catapult at the ready 

We had to mess with the angle of the base to get better distance, but Isaac was willing to dive for a few until we figured it out.  We found that by lifting the back of the base, we could launch a Jolly Rancher quite a distance. As part of the fun, we learned some about the physics of catapults and also the history of seige warfare.  Isaac knew that the spring stored energy when flexed.  We talked about momentum and kinetic/potential energy.  It was a pretty quick project and I think we all learned a little too.  I think we may try a trebuchet this summer.  We have a compost pile ripe for attack!

I think we’ll revisit this project in a few years and do a little experimentation.  I would like for us to experiment with the length of the catapult arm, the angle of the base, the tension of the spring and the distance the arm can travel.  I think we are a little young for too many calculations, but we may try this outside this summer with a bigger setup that we can really play with!

9 thoughts on “Catapult of awesomeness

  1. Ok, now you’re seriously going to have to start digging the moat around the house and stocking it with live alligators… 😉

  2. I like this idea – wonder if it would work to launch veggies over the chicken fence (or missles at the guinneas???). Great idea!

  3. This was a lot of fun….we experimented so much with it that Abigail and I finally broke it today…but fear not…hot glue fixed it! I am almost positive that we’ll build a bigger version and we could definitely launch kids, veggies, pianos, etc. I can’t wait!

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