At one point or another in our academic lives, many of us adults had to devise a catapult in physics class. As it turns out, all that fun is now paying off with the opportunity to guide our kids through this Physics riddled Christmas activity! Making a catapult is a great STEAM activity that uses math, engineering and science. It is a simple machine designed to use a lever. In the Christmas spirit, add red and green jumbo Popsicle sticks! My three-year-old enjoyed getting to experiment with launching different items.
- 3 red rubber bands
- 10 red and green jumbo Popsicle sticks
- Optional : launching items
Stack eight Popsicle sticks and wind tightly at either end with rubber bands.
Make two notches, one on either side of each Popsicle stick close to the end (adults should do this part)
Push one Popsicle stick through the stacked sticks so that it rests on top of the bottom stick of the stack.
Place the Popsicle stick on the top of the stack.
Where the notches meet, wind a rubber band around the two Popsicle sticks. This should not be as tight as the rubber bands on the sides of the stack. You need to be able to provide a decent amount of force to launch your item.
Optional: You can glue a cap to the Popsicle stick for easier launching.
Gather items such as marshmallows, pom poms, and other small items to test it out!
Use different items to see if there is a difference in how far it launches. Does a heavier item not go as far? Making a catapult, you learn about force and a lever arm. You also learn about potential and stored energy.
For more DIY and eco-friendly projects, check out our blog!
If you’re not already a Green Kid Crafts subscriber, don’t wait another day to join!
Photos & content by: Heather Kucenski