Crazy Catapults

Room 15 students constructed catapults to move pompoms through the air. They were learning how to be an engineer. With their imaginative fluro vests and hard hats on, students worked through a five-step engineering process to create their catapult.

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The Engineering Process:

  • Need: Why am I making this?
  • Research: What do I need to know to make it?
  • Create: Time to make it.
  • Test: Time to test it.
  • Share: Share what I learnt.

Room 15 students were presented with the challenge, ‘make your pompom fly through the air and travel the furthest. This certainly created a whirl of excitement and a burst of competitiveness.

Students were very eager to make a catapult. A few students knew what a catapult was, and they were keen to share their knowledge with their peers. During the research step, students watched a video explaining the history of catapults and how they work.

Catapults were used to throw rocks at castles.

Students were shown a catapult. They looked carefully at the different parts of the catapult and how they were joined together. Next, they were given the pieces to make their own catapult. During the creating step, students needed to connect the pieces correctly. There was lots of discussion about where each piece should go.

Once the catapults were constructed, students eagerly tested their devices. Pompoms started flying in all directions. Some hitting the ceiling, some shooting backwards and some rolling away. Many pompoms landed in places, never to be seen again.

Throughout the testing, students were repairing, adjusting and changing their catapult. As problems appeared, students discussed solutions with each other. Together with Mrs. Griffin, the students examined different ways to solve their problems. The main trouble was the launching arm kept breaking. It was decided it needed to be strengthened, moved and modified to increase the launching force. The result was a faster flying pompom. Success!

My catapult broke! Mrs. Griffin helped me fix it.  

I can make my pompom touch the roof.  

My pompom flew the farthest.  

2024 Griffin

Fiona Griffin

I believe Wairakei Primary School is a special place. It provides a safe environment for our children to discover, create and develop their love of learning.

I grew up in Taupō and have lived here most of my life. I am married with two grown sons and two delightful grandchildren. My husband and I enjoy travelling, spending time with our family and friends, tramping and camping. I love arts and crafts, in particular painting and sketching. Before becoming a teacher, I was a tailor and had my own clothing design business. I still enjoy designing and making clothing, especially wedding dresses.

I have been a teacher since 2005. I joined Wairakei Primary School in 2018. I love teaching and I especially love teaching at Wairakei Primary School. I became a teacher after 7 years as a scout leader for 1st Taupō Scouts. This was where I realised my desire to inspire and educate children was more important to me than just one hour, once a week.


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