October is such a great month for incorporating fun STEM! From autumn to Halloween, there are so many opportunities to add fun scientific activities. Since those little candy pumpkins are all the rage around my house, I combined a favorite STEM activity, building catapults, with the scientific method and candy pumpkins, of course.
First, we built the catapults.
To build a catapult, you will need eight large craft sticks/tongue depressors, five to six rubber bands, and a plastic spoon or plastic water bottle cap. First, stack six craft sticks and secure both ends of the stack with rubber bands. Then secure one end of the last two sticks with a rubber band, close to the end. Open these two sticks apart slightly to make a “V”, and slide the stack of sticks in between. Secure the position of the stack by using two rubber bands, or one large band, by wrapping them around diagonally to form an “X”. Finally, slide the flat end of a plastic spoon under the “X” and add one more rubber band near the curved part of the spoon to secure it. You can leave off the spoon and just hot glue on a plastic bottle cap instead if you wish.
Load a candy pumpkin into the spoon/bottle cap, pull back the catapult, and let it fly! I have my kids make a modification to the design and test it again to see if the modification changed their data. We also went over the terms “force”, “energy”, and “work” to talk about all of the factors at work on the catapult and pumpkin.
Here is a free copy of the worksheet I made to go with this activity:
Hope you enjoy pumpkin chunkin’!