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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Tuesday’s Toolbox

Tuesday's Toolbox button

This week’s tool is a catapult. Ok, I admit a catapult is not an everyday household item…unless you are raising boys (this was my 9-year-old’s idea). But even if you don’t have a toy catapult ready at hand, you CAN build one with household materials. The simplest catapult could be constructed using a ruler as the lever and a wooden block as the fulcrum. Load it with a paper ball and power it with a fist. But feel free to experiment with any materials you have at hand including wooden spoons, clothespins, rubberbands, Lego (Technics is great for this), Knex…

A catapult is an excellent (and super fun) way of exploring some of the principles of physics. In addition to a giving a dramatic demonstration of the lever, you can experiment with how far a projectile will go by varying the length of the arm and the amount of force used. Use this opportunity to explore all the variables that will affect the distance the projectile will travel while you perfect your aim (and give the kiddos plenty of space and lots of soft projectiles---cotton balls, anyone?). Here are some great on-line resources:

Do you have a way to use a common tool for uncommon learning? To participate in the meme, please sign MckLinky with your post for Tuesday's Toolbox, and feel free to use a previous post if you like. Be sure to link back to this post so your readers can check out other ideas.

1 comment:

  1. You are brilliant! You, too, Tim! I am REALLY going to have to think to come up with one.


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