Title: Marshmallow Catapult - Exploring Projectile Motion Experiment
Objective: To build and test a marshmallow catapult, exploring principles of force, motion, and projectile trajectory.
- Popsicle sticks or craft sticks
- Rubber bands
- Plastic spoon
- Small marshmallows or soft projectiles
- Optional: Decorative materials (markers, stickers) for customization
- Begin by discussing the concept of force, motion, and projectile trajectory with the children. Explain that a catapult is a simple machine that uses stored energy to launch objects through the air.
- Gather the popsicle sticks or craft sticks and rubber bands. These will be used to construct the catapult.
- Start by forming a base by arranging two popsicle sticks parallel to each other. Use rubber bands to secure them together at both ends.
- Create the launching arm by attaching a popsicle stick to the base using rubber bands. Position it vertically, so it can act as a lever.
- Attach the plastic spoon to the top of the launching arm. Secure it with rubber bands, making sure it is stable and can hold the marshmallow or projectile.
- Optional: Decorate the catapult using markers or stickers to give it a fun and personalized touch.
- Load a small marshmallow or soft projectile onto the spoon of the catapult.
- Hold the base of the catapult firmly, pulling back the launching arm to stretch the rubber bands. Aim the catapult at a target or an open area for safe experimentation.
- Release the launching arm and observe the marshmallow or projectile as it launches into the air. Measure the distance it travels and the height it reaches.
- Encourage children to experiment with different angles of release, amounts of force applied, and modifications to the catapult design. Observe how these factors affect the distance and trajectory of the marshmallow or projectile.
- Discuss the findings and relate them to concepts of force, motion, and projectile motion. Ask questions to stimulate critical thinking, such as: What happens when you increase or decrease the force applied? How does the angle of release affect the distance traveled? How does the design of the catapult contribute to its functionality?
- Ensure that the marshmallows or projectiles used are soft and safe for launching. Avoid using hard or sharp objects.
- Keep a safe distance from others and fragile objects when launching the marshmallows.
This experiment allows children to explore principles of force, motion, and projectile trajectory by building and testing their own marshmallow catapult. It promotes hands-on learning, scientific observation, and critical thinking skills. Enjoy the fun and educational experience of launching marshmallows with your catapult.