What kid doesn’t love a catapult! So we came up with the idea for a Christmas catapult modeled after our first simple catapult. You only need a couple things which you might already have lying around. Of course if you want a Christmas themed catapult, grab some red and green popsicle sticks to get started! Learn about simple machines too! Join us for the 25 Days to Christmas STEM Countdown this season.
CATAPULT CHRISTMAS STEM ACTIVITY FOR KIDS
STEM CHRISTMAS ACTIVITIES
Making a catapult is a great STEM activity for kids of all ages. A catapult uses math, engineering, and science in a very fun way. You could begin your activity by checking out some medieval catapults to see what they were originally used for.
A catapult is a simple machine design that uses a lever. This is one of our favorite STEM Christmas activities.
SIMPLE CATAPULT PHYSICS
- Learn about a fulcrum point. The point that doesn’t move.
- Learn about force.
- Learn about a lever arm.
- Learn about potential and stored energy.
- Create a simple machine to test it all out!
CHRISTMAS CATAPULT STEM CHALLENGE
- 10 Jumbo popsicle sticks
- 3 Rubberbands
HOW TO BUILD A CATAPULT
Step 1: Stack eight popsicle sticks and wind tightly at either end with rubber bands.
Step 2: Make 2 notches, one on either side of each popsicle stick close to the end. Adults should do this part!
Step 3: Push one popsicle stick through the stacked sticks so that it rests on top of the bottom stick of the stack.
Step 4: Place the popsicle stick on the top of the stack
Step 5: 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 Step: You can glue a cap to the popsicle stick for easier launching.
Your Christmas STEM activity simple catapult project is complete and ready!
Gather your launching items like marshmallows, pom poms, crumbled paper and test your machine. Small jingle bells are not a great idea as we found out!
Now add force by pushing the lever arm down so it moves around the fulcrum and let go!
You can test it further by trying different items of varying weights. See how far each travels and compare the results. Use a measuring tape and record your findings. Does one go higher than another? Which one goes the farthest distance, the shortest distance?
A catapult provides countless opportunities for experimentation while having tons of fun!
MORE FUN CHRISTMAS STEM ACTIVITIES
Build a simple catapult for Christmas STEM!
Click on the image below or on the link for more fun STEM Christmas activities.