Medieval catapult

Catapult – a ballistic device used to launch a projectile a great distance without the aid of explosive devices—particularly various types of ancient and medieval siege engines.[ Although the catapult has been used since ancient times, it has proven to be one of the most effective mechanisms during warfare. Catapults were invented by the ancient Greeks. The word ‘catapult’ comes from the Greek words for “downwards” and “to toss, to hurl”.

Punkin Chunkin’ – Contests to drop or launch pumpkins use lots of engineering, physics, and math, simple levers, vectors and the force of gravity.

  • Monster Mash Pumpkin Smash – What do Jack-O-Lanterns have to do with engineering? Plenty, if you’re among the scores who participate in the pumpkin drops and launch contests that many engineering schools host around Halloween!
  • There’s even an annual World Championship Punkin Chunkin’ contest in Delaware that attracts kids and adults alike.
  • Behind these fun events lies some serious engineering, physics, and math. Catapults and trebuchets, for example, are versions of the simple lever – which works like a see-saw to hurl America’s signature yellow gourd for hundreds of feet. Improving a launcher’s aim and distance requires knowing something about vectors and the force of gravity.

Do It
Challenges for you to work on…

  • How To Build A Catapult – This catapult project is an easy and fun project. It takes about thirty minutes and it uses 32 popsicle sticks, some masking tape, and a rubber band. It also shows you a fundamental concept of engineering – the strength of the triangle.

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