Recently, in Principles of Technology we wrapped-up motion and acceleration with a project involving construction of a small-scale trebuchet made of popsicle sticks, rubber bands, and any other materials that could be secured to defend an assigned army.
We competed in a bracket elimination system. Each team started with their trebuchet and 20 soldiers. Each team took one turn shooting at the other. Any soldiers who are hit were removed from play.
At least 2 soldiers were required to be standing to fire the trebuchet. Students asked during the competition if they could use their “dead” soldiers as ammunition. I agreed and it turned out to be surprisingly effective.
If the trebuchet itself was hit, it was unable to return fire for one round to undergo “repairs”. At least 5 soldiers were required to complete repairs to the trebuchet.
If a team dropped below the minimum number of required soldiers for their next move, they were eliminated.
The students found the entire game very interesting and understood the physics behind all of it.
For a final battle, we broke everyone into 2 large groups and fought against each other in a rapid open-fire exercise.
One of the projects that we do as part of Unit 1 – Motion in Principles of Technology is the “Mousetrap Racers”. These are the kits that come with basic materials for building a race car driven by a mousetrap. However, there are no directions.
In my case, students were working in groups of 2 and had 3 90-minute class periods to prepare their cars. They could use anything from within the classroom on their race cars.
We started the school year in Principles of Technology with a bang – more like a blast!
The first project, right out of the gates, was soda-bottle water rockets. This was the introductory project for the course and for Unit 1 – Motion.
The class was broken into self-selected teams of 1 to 3. The class was given a complete 2-liter soda bottle and access to random materials from around the classroom. The teams were given 3 90-minute class sessions to brainstorm and complete their rocket designs.
Upon completion of the designs and following the launches, teams completed force diagrams and a post-launch analysis explaining why their rockets performed the way they did.
Here are the various rockets on the morning of the launches…