G3 Program 1: Catapults!

Some of our G3 scientists!

"That was a great shot!"

This first program for G3 welcomed an enthusiastic crop of budding scientists! And to kick off our ongoing program at Cheshire Public Library, our first topic of exploration was:  CATAPULTS.

We talked about several different kinds of catapults – sling shots, trebuchets, and even aircraft catapults – complete with video demonstrations from YouTube of all in action. We watched as Angry Birds were flung at green pigs from a sling shot (everyone was very impressed with the skill of the person who was playing Angry Birds on the sling shot video!). We saw some elderly gents from England who designed and built a gigantic trebuchet that could fling a full-sized car through a field! And we learned that even jets use catapults (powered by reservoirs of steam) to help in taking off from aircraft carriers.

Original catapult design from FETCH

Busy at work!

For the initial version of our catapults, we each used instructions downloaded from the web site for PBS’s program called FETCH (“Target Practice“). Once models were ready to test, our G3 scientists tested them out by launching both large and small marshmallows at a familiar target: A poster of some of the green pigs from Angry Birds.

Hey pigs! Watch out for marshmallows!

After all of the initial models had been tested, the G3 crew was encouraged to modify their catapults however they wanted. We had catapults ranging from double-spoon and triple-spoon models (some that even hurled marshmallows in opposite directions simultaneously), to designs that had special compartments to hold marshmallow ammunition. There was even a swinging fence made out of craft sticks to protect the catapult while in action! And did I mention that a few of our crew even created giant marshmallow “boulders” to launch at the target? 🙂

We wrapped up the program with a show-and-tell of the wide variety of new catapult designs that the G3 scientists created. What’s next for the G3 scientists? Only Nicole, our head G3 scientist and Cheshire librarian, knows!…

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