Snoqualmie Valley School District

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Catapult Project = Engineering Design + Scientific Investigation

 
Snoqualmie Valley 6th graders are engaged in hands-on learning called: the Catapult Project. The activity has two purposes: 1) to apply the Scientific Investigation Process that they have been learning this year, and; 2) to incorporate the Engineering Design Process, as specified by the new Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) that will be fully implemented in the next two years.

In previous years, the Catapult Project at Twin Falls Middle School was an activity that was completed at home within a week’s time and brought to school to apply the Investigation Process. This year, however, science teachers changed the format to involve more in-class discovery, and both middle schools are participating.

According to Twin Falls Middle School Science Teacher Kyle Wallace, “Beginning around the end of September, we have used every Friday (now dubbed “Flingin’ Friday”) for students to start from scratch and specifically apply the steps of the engineering design process in class. They were to have their parents help with any cutting or drilling at home but then bring all the parts to class for completion. The school also invested science budget into buying drills, hammers, screws, nails, staple guns, drill bits, measuring tapes, levels, and other supplies students would need to use to complete the catapults here at school.”

“Once the students completed their blueprints, compiled their materials list, and designated the responsibilities of team members, they began putting it all together. It has been a pretty incredible process!” added Wallace.

On November 16, Twin Falls students put the finishing touches on their catapult creations and tested their devices through several launch trials. Enjoy photos below.

Each team gathered data, and compared their catapult’s “fling effectiveness” against another device of a similar size to test responding variables. The teams measured and recorded distance in feet or centimeters, and hang time in seconds (which is the time from when the bean bag leaves the launch pad until it hits the ground). The project will conclude with students writing up their scientific investigations.
  
Catapult Test Day  
 Catapults 1 Catapults 2  
 Catapults 3  Catapults 4
 Catapults 5  Catapults 6
 Catapults 7  Catapults 8
 Catapults 9  Catapults 10
 Catapults 11  Catapults 12
 



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