“This one works the best.” Birdie

"A catapult is a thing you put one thing down and you put another thing down and you shoot something." -Sevi

Children have been returning to the catapults, constructing and reconstructing these levers to test new ideas. Through this play they are asking:

How can we make this lever catapult an object higher?
What makes a catapult work best?

Many children first design catapults with tape to attach arms to pivots.

Though the levers do work, the tape has it’s limitations.

"It's not going to work because it's taped on. It's not moving."

Chester designs a series of catapults without attaching the parts.
Sevi experiments with the height of the pivot.

 "I'm making this bigger (taller) so it can go so far." Sevi

We introduced rubber bands as another means to attach the catapult parts.  With various lengths and widths, the rubber bands introduced new variables to test.

Birdie's catapult design uses a loose rubberband, pictured on the left. Ray creates a "double catapult" pictured on the right.

"The double catapult goes
in two directions." Chester

Beatrice experiments with a design that uses many tight rubber bands.

Of the different designs, a small group decides one catapult works the best.

"This one works the best.  I stretched two across." Birdie

"This one goes lower." Brooke, describing how the lever reaches the ground at a steeper angle.

"Yeah, Birdie's is the best. That's a really bad catapult. [The lever] doesn't even go up." Ryan

"Should I take some [rubber bands] off?" Charlie

 What makes that one work so well?  Emily

"It's because it's really loose." Birdie

What have we learned through our play?

What have these experiments taught us about catapults?

what have catapults taught us about weight, height, size, balance, and force?

To guide our entire studio community through a process of reflection, we invited a small group of children to begin planning an instructional video. This project will ask us to reflect on what we have figured out and how we can best explain this knowledge to others. We anticipate children will continue to challenge each other's thinking as they work to build and communicate a shared understanding.