Catapulting Creativity

Catapulting Creativity

Author: Savannah Angel

The students will be able to make a catapult using the Simple Machines kits. Using force and motion, Newton's Laws and their knowledge of simple machines they will design and create their own catapult. As engineers they are able to put their own ideas to work by collaboration and science.

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Life with Levers

In order to be able to create your own LEGO catapult, you must first know what levers are and how they work. There are three types of levers:

First-class levers have the fulcrum placed between the load and the effort. On a balance scale, if the two arms of the lever are of equal length, as with the balance scale, the effort must be equal to the load. If the effort arm is longer than the load arm, as in the crowbar, the effort travels farther than the load and is less than the load.

Second-class levers have the load between the effort and the fulcrum. A wheelbarrow is a second-class lever. The wheel’s axle is the fulcrum, the handles take the effort, and the load is placed between them. The effort always travels a greater distance and is less than the load.

Third-class levers have the effort placed between the load and the fulcrum. The effort always travels a shorter distance and must be greater than the load. A hammer acts as a third-class lever when it is used to drive in a nail: the fulcrum is the wrist, the effort is applied through the hand, and the load is the resistance of the wood.

A Class 1 lever has the load and the effort on opposite ends with the fulcrum in the middle. Another example of a Class 1 level would be a seesaw or a balance. In order to make the load rise and fly off of the end of the catapult, the user must apply force or effort downward onto the opposite end.

Thus, in order the build your catapult, you must have a lever with a place for the load to sit, a place to apply effort opposite from the load and a fulcrum in the middle of the two. Not every creation will work the first time so keep trying and innovating!

This is a video of different catapult creations made by different students. They are defending their land from on coming intruders and must find the most effective way to launch their catapult.