# Planning & Carrying Out Investigations Activity #2: Marshmallow Catapult

Student Goal: Design and build a Popsicle stick catapult to launch mini-marshmallows across the room into a paper cup with accuracy.

Teacher Goal: Give students goal, materials, parameters, and opportunities to plan and carry out investigations without assistance.

Once students understand the parameters of the phenomenon, have them write a PLAN, which includes, but is not limited to the following:

• Introduction
• Necessary materials
• Step-by-step plan for catapult design
• Description of the data collection method
• Timeline of the investigation
• Example of data collection strategy (tables, graphs, etc.)
• How the results will be reported

Students then carry out the investigation.

Possible Materials:

• Plastic spoons
• Popsicle sticks
• Rubber bands
• Paper cups
• Mini-marshmallows

Optional materials for differentiation:

• Measuring tapes
• Tablet to video-record launches
• Calculator
• Bulls-eye

Resources for Teachers:

Show the “Punkin Chunkin’” video included below from ScienceChannel.com to give students an idea of what catapults looks like and to discuss failures, challenges, and perseverance:

• Differentiating for Primary: no limitations on supplies (teacher discretion)
• Possible focus: measurement; cause/effect
• Differentiating for Intermediate: limit amount of rubber bands, tape, and Popsicle sticks
• Possible focus: measurement; forces; percents; simple machines
• Differentiating for Middle: supplies have prices; students have limitations on how much they can “spend” on materials
• Possible focus: measurement; velocity; force; angles; potential and kinetic energy
• Differentiating for High: supplies have prices; students have limitations on how much they can “spend” on materials; aesthetics; set distance
• Possible focus: force; energy; physics; angles of trajectory