Wire Catapult Curriculum Used by Math Instructors Teaches Parabolic Motion and Second Order Quadratic Equations

This hands-on math project evolved from the Sierra College Tech-Explorer Catapult Building project funded by the National Science Foundation, according to Steve Hunter, Faculty in Residence, Sierra Makerspaces. “This project is a very much simplified version of our Tech-Explorer catapult,” said Hunter. “It uses only a block of wood, bent spring wire, release strap, and a screw. It only requires a simple jig to bend the wire and strap material, plus a couple of hand tools. A student or group of students can complete it in about 45 minutes ready to use.”

This curriculum was developed by Katie Lucero, Jeanne Villeneuve & Steve Hunter for Sierra College. “This catapult has been used in math classes to teach parabolic motion and second order quadratic equations,” said Hunter. “Katie, Jeannie and I have created and tested math lessons related to this maker project. It has proved quite successful in conveying more complex math principles by teaching them through a related kinesthetic activity.”

The catapult is designed to be built either in a makerspace or classroom. The following materials support this hands-on math curriculumn:

Sierra Makerspaces – Wire Loop Catapult Assembly Instructions 121917

Sierra Makerspaces Simple_Trajectory_Lesson-1

Sierra Makerspaces Math_Catapult_Trajectory-Lesson-1.0

Sierra Makerspaces Parabolic_Curve_and_Applications-1 121917

Sierra Makerspaces Wire Catapult Build & Launch Parts & Sources List

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