Author: Tracy Wilson, Jason Pitak, Tim Petrie, Jacqueline Godsey, AGPA staff
- Introduce simple machines to the class by showing the Bill Nye video "Simple Machines part 1" - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=grWIC9VsFY4.
- Have a discussion of the catapults in the video.
Assessment: The assessment is informal. Monitor that the students are watching the video and involved in the discussion following the video. At this time, notice any misconceptions the students may have about catapults.
- Students will work in groups and use materials provided to build a catapult. Tell the students that they should use all materials provided for the catapult, if possible. Provide the rubric for grading the catapults to the students.
- Groups each launch pompoms and create a data table with 3 trials. Data should include the distance and accuracy of the launch.
Assessment: Monitor that the students are using the materials as intended and that the students are recording the data properly.
- Each group presents their catapult to the class describing the strengths and weaknesses of the catapult.
- Explain the engineering design process. Have the students discuss their design process. For the engineering design process see Content Knowledge.
Assessment: Use the rubric provided to evaluate the catapults.
- Have the groups exchange catapults.
- Groups will modify the design of the catapult that they receive and test the new design. The groups should create a data table with 3 trials. Data should include the distance and accuracy of the launch.
Assessment: Each student should do a short write-up that includes:
- The results from the modifications to the catapult.
- Suggestions to improve the catapult with additional materials beyond what was provided in this lesson. The students should include an explanation of the expected results with the additional materials based on the experimentation from this lesson.