Our PVC catapult design challenge has begun! Who will be the king of fling? This is the challenge we have set out to discover. We want to take our learning from our previous two classes of Ancient Engineering and apply these skills and ideas into our biggest project yet.

Students were provided a document to process over the last week to help them think through the challenge of designing their very own catapult.

The document provided a playlist of resources as well as the criteria that they had to work under in order to create their catapult.

As students began to sketch out their plans once they were provided an overview of the project they began to realize that this might not be as easy as they thought. Taking the ideas from their head and getting it on paper is not as easy as one might think. Especially when they are limited in the parts available.

After developing a plan we were able to see all sorts of really cool designs. We have catapults, trebuchets, ballistas, and more. I cannot wait to see how they turn out and work.

As the night went on students were able to begin to measure and cut their parts. Once again taking ideas from a 2D surface and converting to the 3D world is not as easy as we think. We are developing some critical skills such as

  • mental imagery
  • visual perception
  • spatial visualization
  • cognitive flexibility

Of course we have our science and math skills being woven in. I was teaching the Pythagorean theorem https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YompsDlEdtc and everything in between.

I wish there was a way to measure the brain activity as these kids were in full immersion. They were doing some serious problem solving and application of learning. It was awesome!

Once again, class flew by. We had to clean up all of our work and now we wait for our final class to finish building, testing, and prototyping our designs.

This is what learning is all about. Hands on immersive approach. I was impressed by their designs and allowed them the freedom to develop their own ideas. It will be interesting to see how they turn out in the end when we meet next week for our final class. The beauty of a project like this is that nobody knows until we try!