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Catapult Cinema

Catapult Cinema

Author: Emily Harris

This lesson uses the Lego Movie Maker application for iPhone and iPad in conjunction with the Lego Simple Machines Kit to teach both science and technology topics.

You will be creating a stop-motion movie showing how to build a catapult and then collecting data and displaying that data in a movie format as well.

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How to use Lego Movie Maker

Lego Movie Maker is a free application which can be used to create stop motion videos. To begin, you simply tap the "Make a Movie" square to begin. You are then directed to a screen to create the title slide from a collection of templates built into the app. Once that's done you begin shooting the images for your video one at a time by clicking the screen for each image you want to capture. The app leaves a watermark over the screen of the previous image so that you can line up each shot perfectly. The more images you take, the better the final product will look.

After taking all the images you will move on to the next step where you choose the speed of your video. The more slides that play per second, the more it will look like a real movie. After setting the speed you can insert caption slides which come built into the app just like the title slides. There are also a number of soundtrack songs which can be laid over the video, or you can choose to insert your own song from your song library. Once you're done publish your video and enjoy!

How to use Simple Machines

For this lesson you will be building the C3 catapult shown above according to the manual provided in the Lego Simple Machines kit. The kit includes all of the pieces you will need to build the catapult, but you must be very careful to make sure you are selecting the correct pieces indicated by counting the number of circles in the photograph. You will be asked to record the distance that a golf ball, a ping pong ball, and a cotton ball travel when catapulted on the worksheet provided for this lesson.

How do these fit together?

While completing this assignment you will be using Lego Movie Maker to record the process of building your catapult step by step. You should demonstrate how the level works by pushing the end of the catapult up and down. If you'd like you can also show the ball flying off of the catapult, but because the program is stop motion you will have to hold the ball at the point when it comes off of the catapult. 

Bonus points: You can create a moving three dimensional graph using basic legos to show visually how far each of the balls flew. Pick a value for how much distance will be demonstrated by each block and include a picture of that key in your video!

Catapult Cinema Worksheet

Here is the worksheet to record your predictions and data.