Lesson: Marshmallow Catapults

David Kujawski Bird Middle East Walpole, MA
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Lesson Objective

YWBAT: Apply the technological design steps to build a marshmallow catapult that uses the allotted materials to launch a marshmallow at least 5 meters in the air and within a 1/2 meter wide area.

Lesson Plan

Marshmallow Catapult Design Challenge Description


Each group will design and build a marshmallow catapult using the following materials to achieve the goal:


1 meter of masking tape


2 Plastic cups


4 Rubber bands


2 Plastic spoons


2 Paperclips


15 cm x 15 cm Piece of cardboard


Large (standard size) marshmallows to launch




Goal: Launch a marshmallow at least 5 meters (in the air) and not outside of a ½ meter width.

Day 1: Assign activity and partners, discuss rubric, answer questions and allow students time to brainstorm a solution with their partner.  Students should individually design a solution and then share their design.

Day 2: Students should design a final solution and create orthographic projections of their design  HW: Draw their catapult as a technological system.

Day 3: Students will be given the materials above and will construct their catapults, leave about 5-10 minutes for clean-up and wrap-up.  Students should be recording their updates and redesigns in their journal (a few pieces of paper where they will identify constraints, trade-offs, modifications, etc.).

Day 4: Final construction and test!

Tips for test day:

Have students move the desks to the side of the room facing inward.  Designate a launch area and measure out a 5-meter line and a half a meter wide span.  This designates the acceptable landing area.

Safety: Everyone should wear safety goggles!  There will be flying marshmallows and rubberbands might come loose or snap--state these dangers to your students. 

Have the rubrics laid out with a pen ready to record the grades.  Remember: you'll be judging the quality of the construction before launching.  This will allow you to discard the catapults after the launch occurs. 

Don't forget to purchase marshmallows.  If you do forget, a piece of paper rolled into a ball will work.

Rubric and other worksheets, including graph paper, are attached to this lesson.


Lesson Resources

Orthographic Projection Website (blue prints)
Youtube video on orthographic projections
graphpaper   Activity
microsoftword catapults   Activity
microsoftword researching   Activity
Catapult Picture   Exemplar
Catapult Picture   Exemplar
Trouble-shooting journal picture   Exemplar
Technological System Drawing.JPG  
New catapult rubric.pdf  


David Kujawski Posted 7 years ago:
I would take a rubber band and a spoon to demonstrate the idea of potential and kinetic energy. When you pull back energy is stored and when you let go it's released. Maybe tape the rubber band to the spoon and with one hand hold the rubber band to a desk and pull the spoon back with the other hand. Don't forget the safety glasses! Let me know if you have other questions.
Mae Cauguiran Posted 7 years ago:
Did you have a prototype of the catapult to show the students? I have made accommodations for my lesson since I teach special education and wanted to show them how I used the materials. How would you suggest making the most simple type of catapult as a demonstration?



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