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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Halloween Catapult Design

I bought six bags of candy corn/candy corn pumpkins with full intentions of doing a STEM building activity similar to this with toothpicks for my GATE class.  I had done something to it last spring with Easter candy, and was eager to try a new twist on the activity for a new holiday.

But as it turned out... the candy corn variety do not work well for the activity I had planned. 
{Note: It is the gummy kind that you need for the best construction.}


What did I do? ...Well, at first I thought, "Great! More candy for me", and proceeded to shamelessly eat a whole bag. Then, I quickly adapted my old catapult lab with some candy corn graphics and changed the planned lesson to drop in a mini-lesson on physics and catapults.  

The students were given a maximum of 15 Popsicle sticks (I tried allowing unlimited, it doesn't work.  I suggest between 12-25), unlimited rubber bands, and one spoon to build. Next time, I would also allow masking tape and materials they provide such as bottle caps. I tried to give the students guidance and suggestions only as needed to allow them to think and construct creatively.  However, gradually I did end up rotating the room and pictures using google images: "popsicle stick catapults."

Construction took longer than I had anticipated and during one 45 min. period we achieved the building of the catapults. Testing, recording data, and reflecting will happen in the next 45 minute session!

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