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The student news site of Smoky Hill High School

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Physics Catapult Project

Students are building catapults

Kyna Fitzpatrick, Website Specialist

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The students in Mrs. Cross’ physics class are building catapults this week. They are making the catapults as part of their current studies, the projectile motion unit.

Students must make a catapult that can launch a bounce ball to a distance of more than 1.5 meters. The catapult can be made out of any materials that allow it to work. They can use popsicle sticks, rubber bands, wood, hot glue, and other objects to make sure that their catapults launch properly.

“We used a binder clip, pencil, plastic spoons, and some rubber bands,” junior Karina Rivas said. “We got many of our ideas from Pinterest as well.”

After students made their catapults, they put them through a series of tests. They made sure it could launch the ball more than 1.5 meters, and that the projectile would land near the same point on repeated launches.

“Ours was able to meet all the requirements,” Rivas said. “It launched a bouncy ball more than 1.5 meters.”

If the requirements were not quite met in testing, students could go back and change the design. Students were given two or three days to build their catapult and work on the PowerPoint that goes along with the project.

“During the testing phase I learned that our catapult had some strengths and weaknesses to it, and while it only took us one day to build it, we did have to financial and make some changes to it,” Rivas said.

In the upcoming weeks, the students will continue to test their catapults for accuracy and make changes to the their catapults to see how it affects the data that they collect.

“The one thing I liked about this project was being able to create something that works out of everyday materials,” Rivas said.

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Physics Catapult Project