In this Candy Pumpkin Pong halloween science experiment your students will be competing against each other. Competition always brings out the best thought in activities like this. Your students will absolutely love this STEM game! They will be designing, building, and launching candy pumpkin catapults. This competition is all about accuracy.
Before this activity you will want to discuss your lesson on force, fulcrums, and levers with the students so they are using proper terminology when discussing their catapult builds with each other.
Candy Pumpkin Pong Learning Objectives:
At the end of this laboratory activity, students are expected to:
- design and build a catapult that could launch candy pumpkins with high accuracy.
- describe how force affects the motion of a projectile
- explain the optimum angle for launching a projectile the farthest distance
Download These Lab Sheets for Your Students:
Candy Catapult Lab Materials:
- 10 Small Popsicle Sticks
- 10 Large Popsicle Sticks
- 20 Rubber Bands
- 5 Paper Clips
- Candy Pumpkins (to be given by the teacher once the competition begins)
- Plastic Bottle Caps (one for each group)
- hot glue
Laboratory Proper for the Playing Field
You will need either standard 8 foot tables or you can lay out the playing field with painters tape on the floor. Depending on the size of your class you may want to set up multiple playing fields.
The playing field will need to be an 8 foot long by 4 foot wide rectangle. Put a line of painters tape as the line they will launch their catapults from. This keeps the competition fair. Put another piece of tape about 6 inches from the back of the other side of the table.
You will then half fill the 6 large mason jars with water and place them in the shape of a triangle on the table. Put the back row of jars on the painters tape that is 6 inches from the edge.
Then drop a different color glow stick into each jar and place the black light behind the mason jars.
Turn out the lights (you may want to have some other black lights around the room just to have more light for visibility). This just gives the Halloween feel. You do not have to use the black lights and glow sticks. That part is just for the holiday scene.
Candy Pumpkin Pong Lab Procedure:
Part 1: Catapult Making
Here are the steps for making a simple catapult that could launch your Candy Pumpkins. You are given extra materials that you could use and work around to make a more accurate catapult. Feel free to modify some of the steps here and be creative!
- Stack five popsicle sticks together and wrap a rubber band around each end.
- Stack two popsicle sticks and wrap a rubber band around only end.
- Slide the five popsicle sticks in-between the two sticks.
- Wrap a rubber band where the two sections meet to hold the catapult together.
- Using hot glue, attach a bottle cap to the top stick to hold the projectile.
- Place a projectile (i.e. Candy Pumpkin) in the cap, hold the stick down, and release.
- Modify your catapult design if needed. Below are some videos that could give you an idea on what other catapult designs you could make.
Part 2: Candy Pumpkin Catapult Competition
- Go to the playing field designated by your teacher.
- The playing field has 6 large mason jars with water, arranged in a reverse triangle.
- Each team will get 6 shots to land their Candy Pumpkins in one of the mason jars.
- Once a Candy Pumpkin goes in a mason jar, it will be removed from the field of play.
- Whichever team eliminates the most mason jars in their 6 shots win.
- What are some considerations you had in designing and building your catapult?
- Describe the motion of the projectile.
- How does the force affect the motion of the projectile?
- Explain the optimum angle for launching a projectile the farthest distance.
Here is your Free Content for this Simple Machines Lesson!
Simple Machines PDFs
- 4-6 Assignment Student Edition - Simple Machines (PDF)
- 4-6 Assignment Teacher Edition - Simple Machines (Member Only)
- 4-6 Bell Work Student Edition - Simple Machines (PDF)
- 4-6 Bell Work Teacher Edition - Simple Machines (Member Only)
- 4-6 Exit Quiz Student Edition - Simple Machines (PDF)
- 4-6 Exit Quiz Student Edition - Simple Machines (Member Only)
- 4-6 Guided Notes Student Edition - Simple Machines (PDF)
- 4-6 Guided Notes Student Edition - Simple Machines (Member Only)
- 4-6 Lesson Plan - Simple Machines (PDF)
- 4-6 Online Activities - Simple Machines (PDF)
- 4-6 Slide Show - Simple Machines (PDF)
- 4-6 Vocabulary Worksheet Student Edition - Simple Machines (PDF)
- 4-6 Vocabulary Worksheet Student Edition - Simple Machines (Member Only)
Simple Machines Worksheets - Word Docs & PowerPoints
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