Catapult Project handout

When you have completed this unit, you will be able to:
Identify each type of simple machine.
Calculate the mechanical advantage of simple
Understand the following terms: force, effort, and
work, motion, kinetic and potential energy, inertia,
velocity, and resistance.
Demonstrate your knowledge of simple machines by
drawing and creating a catapult.
Students will create a PowerPoint presentation on
the history and mechanics of their style of
Student will be able to apply the scientific method
to the completion of the project.
1. Using various sources, research catapults and decide
on a type of catapult.
2. On page 2 of this packet, draw thumbnail sketches of
5 different styles of catapults and label.
3. There will be a PowerPoint at least 10 slides long.
Remember – all information from a source needs to be
cited. It is someone else’s, and they deserve the
4. Research catapult designs along with simple machines
as you are going to build and design a catapult,
which will launch a practice golf ball 15 feet onto
a target.
5. Complete a storyboard or an outline for your
presentation. See page 4 for report criteria. Have
Mr. Wright check here when finished __________
6. You may now begin work on your presentation and your
7. Complete page 3
8. A final catapult competition will take place the
week after Open House. Catapults will be required
to launch a practice golf ball for both distance and
9. A tri-fold, science fair display will be constructed
to display photos, drawings, data and plans of your
project, as well as a final version of the
conclusions from your packet.
As this is a group project , all
companies have managers,
technicians and information
systems operators.
With the others in your group
fill in the following
Group Name:
Information Specialist(s)
Design Restrictions:
Maximum Dimensions of Catapult base: 12” X 18”
Height cannot exceed 30”
Width cannot exceed 24”
Materials: Base and all structural components MUST be made of Wood, but may be of any
Force may be applied by any means, but advanced designs will detract from historical
accuracy grade.
Trigger mechanism, ball holder and axel materials are unrestricted.
A part of the grade will be based on historical accuracy.
As this is a group project, you need to organize your group into specific jobs.
THE MANAGER is responsible for making sure all portions of the assignments are completed on
time. He/She is responsible for coordination of all aspects of the unit. Also, they are
responsible for keeping all group members on task. If the information specialist needs help
then the technician works for them until the technician has some work to do of their own. Keep
all members busy!
THE TECHNICIAN is responsible for the actual construction of the project. She/He is
responsible for all engineering, testing and design changes. Also, needs to make sure any
information is delivered to the manager.
INFORMATION SPECIALIST is responsible for the gathering of information, compiling of data,
and creation of the final presentation. This includes all inputting of data, surfing of the web,
and gathering of materials.
Using the space provided: Complete 5 thumbnail sketches of a possible catapult design.
Remember, these are quick small sketches with just enough detail for you to get the main idea of the
project idea.
In the following space, provide a detailed sketch of your group’s final idea. This should show enough detail so
that you will be able to construct a detailed drawing from your sketch. This should have at least 2 views of the
project a top and front, or top and side
When creating the presentation, consider the categories below:
Complete the storyboard
on the next page.
Presentation with mainly text
and limited sound, movie clips
and still art. Student read info
and ads to information in
Presentation with some sound, movie
clips and still art. Students read and
explain the information as it is
The presentation should include the following information:
1. An introduction to catapults.
2. A brief description of the catapults.
3. A short section on the history of catapults. Who first used them, what materials they used, how has this
been utilized over time.
4. A description of how the catapult works.
5. A section on how to calculate the amount of work the catapult can generate.
6. Example of the uses of the catapult.
7. Include a short section on your project design.
8. Use the scanner to scan your drawings into the presentation, provide a brief description of your building
process, problems encountered, and performance data*. Also, include a description of the simple machines
incorporated into your catapult.
9. A closing, this should be a summary of all the materials in your report.
The Display should include:
Pictures of the process of building and testing
Purpose of the project
Information about your catapult
4. Testing data
5. Plans
6. Calculations
Story board: In each of the following boxes complete the presentation your group is doing frame by frame.
Catapult Testing:
There are two components to the competition. One is for accuracy, the other for distance. During the
competition, you will be allowed to make one type of adjustment. This can be changes to the amount of force,
the angle of the launch, or any other variable you can implement in your design. It is your responsibility, as
you’re testing you catapult, to fill in the data below; Get to know how your catapult works, responds to
adjustments, what are the optimum release points and angel of launch.
Once you are ready to start testing your catapult, see me to check out a practice golf ball.
The tables below should be filled in and the data included in your presentation and display.
Performance Data: This will be results from your first day of testing. This will be completed the day before
competition day. (See last page for data to complete the following)
Mass of the Projectile: _________________________ (to be provided by Mr. Wright)
Use the table below to complete your accuracy test data:
Trial # Distance from target
Distance from target
Using English system Using metric system
Adjustments made to machine
Use the table below to complete your test data on Distance trials:
Time Ball is aloft
Distance from
Launch Angle
(to the nearest tenth) (t)
Launch Site (d)
Adjustments made to machine
Mass of Golf Ball: ___________
Avg. Dist. Golf Ball Flew in Distance Trials: ______________
Work done by catapult: _______________ (W= Force (Mass) x Dist.)
Initial Vertical velocity of Golf ball: V(y Initial) = 9.8(½ t)
V(y Initial) = 9.8(1/2 ___) = ______ m/s
Avg. Height achieved in trajectory:
h = -16t2 + vt + s (Where s is the height of the release point of your catapult)
h = -16__2 + ___ ___ + ___
h = ______ m
Initial Horizontal Velocity of Golf Ball: V(x Initial) = Dist. (d) ÷ Time (t)
V(x Initial) = ________ ÷ _________ = _____________ m/s
Accuracy Check:
Calculated distance = 2VxVy(initial) ÷ g = 2 ________ X _______ ÷ g = ___________
Compare your calculations to Actual Numbers: [(Calculated Distance – Actual) ÷ Actual] X 100%
Is there a difference? How can you account for the difference?