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Pepperdine University

Graduate School of Education and Psychology

STEM/Science/Math Lesson Plan

Topic(s)/Unit:

Lesson Title: Lets Build A Catapult! Subject: Science Physics; Math - Statistics

TPE(s):

Grade: 6th Context: Number of Students in the class: 32

Time: approx. 50 min #ELLs : 0 # Students with Disabilities: 0

#GATE: 32

Essential Questions/Understandings

Essential Understandings Essential Questions

The force placed on an object affects the How can I build a catapult out of the material I

motion of a projectile am presented with?

The ideal angle to project an object is 45 What affect does force and mass have on the

degrees motion of an object?

Measure of center and measure of variation can What is the ideal angle to project an object

be measured through collecting data from a catapult to gain peak distance?

Introduction to Forces and Introduction to and Building and Launching of

Forces and Motion Motion in affect designing of modifying catapult

catapult catapults competition

Type of Learner (check all that apply) Blooms Taxonomy Level (check all that apply)

Visual Knowledge

Kinesthetic Comprehension

Verbal Application

Logical Synthesis

___ Rhythmic Evaluation

Interpersonal

Intrapersonal

___Naturalist

Next Generation Science Standard and/or Common Core Standards in Math (s): (list the standard

number and description)

NGSS/CCS-M:

MS-PS2- Plan an investigation to provide evidence that the change in an objects motion depends on the sum of the

2. forces on the object and the mass of the object.

Hewitt 2

CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.6.SP.A.2

Understand that a set of data collected to answer a statistical question has a distribution which can be

described by its center, spread, and overall shape.

CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.6.SP.A.3

Recognize that a measure of center for a numerical data set summarizes all of its values with a single

number, while a measure of variation describes how its values vary with a single number.

CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.6.SP.A.2

Understand that a set of data collected to answer a statistical question has a distribution which can be

described by its center, spread, and overall shape.

CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.6.SP.A.3

Recognize that a measure of center for a numerical data set summarizes all of its values with a single

number, while a measure of variation describes how its values vary with a single number.

Performance Expectations:

Content Objective:

Students will know that the force placed on an object affects the motion of a projectile

Students will understand that the ideal angle to project an object is 45 degrees

Students will realize that measure of center and measure of variation can be measured through

collecting data

Behavioral Objective:

Explain the optimum angle (45 degrees) for launching a projectile the farthest distance.

Differentiate between replication (by others) and repetition (multiple trials from one person).

Identify tested (independent) variables, outcome (dependent) variables in investigations.

Design and carry out a scientific investigation including repeated trials in order to solve a problem

or answer a question.

Collect, organize, and interpret data, make predictions.

Asking questions (for science) and defining problems (for engineering)

Developing and using models

Planning and carrying out investigations

Analyzing and interpreting data

Using mathematics and computational thinking

Constructing explanations (for science) and designing solutions (for engineering)

Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information

Hewitt 3

What questions are used for scientific inquiry?

How can you successfully launch a marshmallow at least 2 meters (in the air)

and not outside of a meter width from a catapult?

Is there an ideal angle to project an object from a catapult?

What information on measure of center and measure of variation can be collected from an

object projected from a catapult?

What are the various ways you can track the projectile distance of an object from a catapult?

(Graphing, measure of center, measure of variation)

Patterns

Cause and effect: Mechanism and explanation

__ Scale, proportion, and quantity

Systems and system models

Energy and matter: Flows, cycles, and conservation

Structure and function

Stability and change

Crosscutting Concepts

Projectile distances will vary depending on the angle in which the spoon is bent

Adjusting the force on an object will affect the projection distance

Energy flow depends on the mass of and force on an object

Adjusting and modeling design may be needed to achieve desired distance

Students will research catapults and how they work

Building ideal catapult to achieve goal

Tracking the distance an object is projected from a catapult

Each piece of a whole serves a purpose, altering the pieces will change how the whole object

operates

Materials/Preparation

Hewitt 4

Materials:

Jumbo popsicle sticks

Rubber bands

Plastic spoons

Mini marshmallows

Catapult Design Worksheet (Appendix A)

Lets Build A Catapult Worksheet (Appendix B)

Catapult Launch Data (Appendix C)

Catapult Competition Worksheet (Appendix D)

Catapult Reflection (Appendix E)

Preparation:

Introduction to Force and Motion

Forces and Motion in effect

Complete design of catapult

Introduction to and designing of catapult

Launching of catapult competition

Behavioral Management:

Teacher will check in periodically with students to ensure that they understand and have grasped the

concepts within the unit and lesson. Teacher will roam, float and sit with students when necessarily. The

role of the teacher is that of the facilitator, allowing students to learn on their own and only contributing

when necessary. Teacher will demonstrate, model, and pose and answer questions (guided and those that

arise during conversation)

Anticipatory Set:

Teacher will say: On Monday, we started learning about forces and motion. We discussed Sir Isaac

Newtons Laws of Motion and Galileos concept of projectile motion. On Tuesday, we watched the Bill

Nye video to grasp a better understanding of forces and motion in effect. Yesterday, we started researching

and looking into catapults that we would ultimately build. (Refer to Appendix A) Today, we are going to

build our catapults and test out how far they can go before our Catapult Launch Competition tomorrow

(Appendix D). Before we get started, lets look at this video to review how catapults work and their

significance in history.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ebByEmRu8lg

Students will know that the force placed on an object affects the motion of a projectile

Students will understand that the ideal angle to project an object is 45 degrees

Students will realize that measure of center and measure of variation can be measured through

collecting data

Hewitt 5

Explain the optimum angle for launching a projectile the farthest distance (45 degrees).

Differentiate between replication (by others) and repetition (multiple trials from one person).

Identify tested (independent) variables, outcome (dependent) variables in investigations.

Design and carry out a scientific investigation including repeated trials in order to solve a problem

or answer a question.

Collect, organize, and interpret data, make predictions.

Constructivism: Students are building on their personal experience. This lesson focuses on

discovery, collaborative group work, scaffolding (when needed), self-guided learning based on

research and designing/engineering.

Cognitivism: Students are going beyond what is provided to them externally. Lecture and visual

tools are utilized to facilitate in learning and memorization.

Connectivism: Students engage in self-directed learning within a network. Here, students are tasked

with completing a self-directed quest for content (catapults), sharing what they have learned with

their peers, and learning and creating something as a group which helps create knowledge

(collaborative).

Now that you know the effect of force and motion on an object, lets have a friendly competition. In

your groups, you are to design a catapult that can launch an object (mini marshmallows) 2 meters

(across the classroom). You will have today to finish designing, building and testing your catapults

before our final launches tomorrow in the Catapult Launch Competition.

METHODOLOGY (Teaching): Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, Evaluate

Teacher will say: You should take out your Catapult Design Worksheet and Lets Build A

Catapult Worksheet" that you worked on and completed in class yesterday. We will be

using those to build our catapults today. Before we get started, who can tell me what a

catapult is? Yes, it is an ancient military machine used for hurling stones and arrows. How does

a catapult work? They use something like weights or a lever to pull back and launch an object into

the air. There is another term for launching something into the air, that is? Our answer is projection.

These are key things will have to remember when building our catapults today. We have to make

sure our catapults are stable, have a force working on them to pull it back and launch, and that it is

positioned correctly to send our marshmallows across the classroom. (Picking up plastic spoon) The

most basic catapult there is, is a spoon. When I place this marshmallow on the spoon, pull the top

back and let go, what do you think will happen? (Take student responses). (Launch the

marshmallow from the spoon) The marshmallow goes flying. Today, you will be incorporating

spoons into your catapults because spoons are our friends and they help our objects launch into the

air. Now, when I bend the spoon back only a little, how far do you think the marshmallow will go?

(Take student responses). (Pull back the spoon slightly) See, it does not go back very far. When I

bend the spoon back a little, what happens? (Bend the spoon back very far) The spoon will either

launch straight up, not very far or will not launch correctly. Why do you think this is so? Remember

Hewitt 6

when we discussed Galileo? He believes that there is an ideal angle to project an object. While

building and launching your catapults today, I want to you think about how far you do and do not

bend your spoon back to launch the marshmallow for the appropriate distance (2 meters).

MODEL (demonstration)

Refer to methodology. Modeling is incorporating in teaching. Students also had the opportunity to

research different ways to build catapults in the previous class (yesterday according to this unit).

Once students have gathered the material necessary to build catapults, teacher will gather students

attention. Teacher will say: Now that you have the materials you need, you are to work together (as

a group) to build the catapult you sketched yesterday. When you have finished building your

catapult, raise your hand so that your group may receive a Catapult Test Data worksheet and

a cup of marshmallows. Please do not eat your ammunition. You will project the

marshmallows from your catapult for a total of 10 times, which you will record/write

into your table. Please be sure to note any changes you make to your catapult, such as

moving, adding or taking away things from them.

Teacher will say: Once you have projected marshmallows for a total of 10 times from your

catapults, you will flip the page and complete the graph and two questions at the bottom.

CLOSURE

Teacher will say: Who can tell me what you discovered when projecting the marshmallows from

your catapult. Yes, there is a certain point that you bend the spoon back to get your desired distance.

Galileo stated that the ideal angle for projection is 45 degrees (Demonstrate 45 degrees on spoon

used in demonstration). Keep this in mind for our next task. Now that you have successfully built

and tested your catapults, they are ready for our competition tomorrow. On your way out, please

place your Catapult Design, - Lets Build A Catapult, and Catapult Test Data

worksheets on the back table. Tomorrow, we will be putting our catapults to their final

and ultimate test in the Catapult Launch Competition.

GATE: These students will be tasked with finding Galileos ideal angle position for projection and the

projectile motion/shape that objects launched take when launched from a catapult (parabola).

Special Needs: Students with special needs are accounted for in group formations and additional

scaffolding from teacher. Groups are formed with 1-2 higher performing students, 1-2 average performing

students and 1-2 lower performing students. Teacher will also sit with, guide and assist students that need

addition support and attention.

SDAIE Techniques:

Brainstorming

Comprehension Check

Co-op Co-op

Hewitt 7

Cooperative Graphing

Graphic Organizers

Group Discussion

Prediction

Think-Pair-Share

Assessments:

Completion of worksheets presented and completed in class and as homework

End of unit reflection to be completed at the end of Catapult Launch Competition

End of unit test on force, motion and applying concepts to real world problems

Reflections/Notes:

Hewitt 8

Each group will design and build a marshmallow catapult using the

following materials to achieve the goal:

Large popsicle sticks (Limit of 10 altogether)

Rubber bands (6 or less)

Plastic spoon (1)

Cup of Mini Marshmallows

Goal: Launch a marshmallow at least 2 meters (in the air) and not outside of a

meter width.

First, find the answers to these questions using the reference tools available to you

iPads and laptops. You have 15 minutes.

________________________________________________________________

What is a projectile?

________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________

What type of simple machine is it? (incline plane, lever, pulley, screw, wedge, or

wheel and axle) How do you know? http://www.mikids.com/Smachines.htm

________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________

Hewitt 9

Directions: Your task is to create a working catapult using the listed material

on the Catapult Design Worksheet. The catapult will be used to launch a

mini marshmallow.

Before you actually start to build your catapult, use the space below to plan

out and sketch your catapult.

Hewitt 10

Now that you have built your catapult, you are to now test and modify your

catapult.

Keep in mind:

- What is your goal?

- How much force will your design require for a successful

launch?

- Which projectile launches the furthest?

- What improvements can you make?

- Have you tested a different way?

Number in inches

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

On the graph below, Graph and Label your Catapult Launch Distances from the table on the

previous page.

Hewitt 11

What is the mean, median and mode of your catapult launch distances?

Find Q1, Q3, and the IQR to determine if there are any outliers.

Team Trial One Trial Two Distance Rank

Hewitt 12

1

What is the mean, median and mode distances of trial one and trial two?

Find Q1, Q3, and the IQR to determine if there are any outliers.

What was your group attempting to achieve with its catapult design?

Hewitt 13

Which challenge did your catapult meet best, accuracy or distance?

What could you have done to make the catapult better?

What helped the catapult work as well as it did?

What did this activity teach you about motion and forces?

Resources

Burris, T. (n.d.). Motion, forces, energy And electricity. In Discovery Education. Retrieved May 27, 2017,

from http://www.discoveryeducation.com/teachers/free-lesson-plans/motion-forces-energy-and-

electricity.cfm

Hewitt 14

Clarke, C., & Royce, E. (n.d.). STEM catapult challenge. In CPALMS. Retrieved May 27, 2017, from

http://www.cpalms.org/Public/PreviewResourceLesson/Preview/127966

Connell, G. (2015). A valentine STEM challenge: Catapults and candy. In Scholastic. Retrieved May 27,

catapults-and-candy/

Findley, J. (2015). Candy corn catapult. In Teaching To Inspire. Retrieved May 27, 2017, from

http://teachingtoinspire.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Candy-Corn-Catapult-1.png

Kujawski, D. (2010). Lesson: Marshmallow catapults. In BetterLesson. Retrieved May 27, 2017, from

https://betterlesson.com/community/lesson/3412/marshmallow-catapults

Surles, W., Crosby, J., McNeil, J., Schaefer Zarske, M., & Samson, C. (2011). Launch into learning:

https://www.teachengineering.org/lessons/view/cub_catapult_lesson01

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