Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Catapults

One of the reasons I love teaching measurement is because it’s such a hands on unit.  Any time I can get my littles out of their seats and moving around I grab it – and measurement lends itself so well to that!

We’re still in the middle of our standardized testing, so there isn’t much time left outside of that to incorporate math lessons.  So when a few minutes popped up today, I grabbed them!  A couple days ago, working in teams, we assembled these cool little catapults (directions for assembling them are below).  




Today I brought them out and we had a little launching competition. What better way to grab the attention of a antsy-pants test taker than to tell them that we’re going to shoot things across the room! I had the kids gather things up that they wanted to launch, then each team got some time to practice using their catapult before the big event...  I had each team choose 5 items to compete with.  We shot them off, looking for the longest shot.  It was fun to see the kids weighing their options, thinking about their practices and comparing with each other before deciding what to pick. 

After each round, the kids used their rulers to measure the distance of their shots.  For the last round, we shook things up a bit and used tape measures - they LOVED having the flexible plastic measuring tapes and they loved the ease of figuring out the measurement.

Building a Catapult 
(this should only shoot things 3-6 feet)

Materials

9 thick popsicle sticks
7-8 rubber bands
1 water bottle cap
Items to launch - we used cap erasers, pom pons, plastic coins, etc.
  • Stack 7 popsicle sticks together.  Wrap the ends in a couple rubber bands to hold the stack together. 
  • Stack 2 popsicle sticks together.  Wrap one end in a couple rubber bands to hold them together.  Open the other end and insert the large stack in the middle.  Then using another rubber band, wrap the large bundle to the small – we criss crossed it in the middle to really hold it down. 
  • Finally hot glue the water bottle cap to the end of the catapult.  I did this to a bunch of popsicle sticks years ago and we just keep reusing these parts each year.


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