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• Mechanical Engineering - Catapults
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# Mechanical Engineering - Catapults

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1. We gave the kids lots of Lego bricks and axles to build the structure of their catapult with.  We also used a spoon and rubber bands and launched cotton balls.  The activity went well and many kids enjoyed building different designs.  Some were unsure how to place the lever and fulcrum so be sure that they understand the purpose of the structure.  Overall the activity went well and took about an hour.  It was plenty long enough to fill an entire class period.

2. This was a tough lesson to complete with 2nd graders in only an hour's time. We came in with an example catapult so as to help the students get started, but it was a fairly complicated one made of LEGO beams. It had a spoon attached and a rubber band also to provide the energy to launch a cotton ball. We should have simplified this lesson so it did not take so much time to construct the actual catapult so that the students could have tested the catapult and made revisions to improve its launching distance. ﻿The structures were not very sturdy either. In the end, a lot of students had to hold various pieces of their machine to get it to work. With more time, we feel that we could have made more progress with this activity but that constraint held us back.

3. You can also do this activity with Tetrix for something a little more technical. A spoon can still be used as the lever. The only problem is that there are no sorted kits at the CEEO so you'd have to take a bunch of loose Tetrix pieces. And I'm not sure if you can take them out from the CEEO or not since I did the activity there.