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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?

SCHEDULE FOR THE WEEK IN TABULAR FORM

DAY 1 DAY 2 DAY 3 DAY 4 DAY 5


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.
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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:

Describe how force affects the motion of a projectile.


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.

Scientific & Engineering Practices (check all that apply)


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
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Scientific & Engineering Practices:


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 mathematical and computational thinking is involved?

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)

Crosscutting Concepts (check all that apply)


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

What connections will be made?


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

How will students engage with the Crosscutting Concept(s)?


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
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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)

Students are held accountable for actions and completion of work.

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

Content Objective (Know)


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
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Behavioral Objective (Do)

Describe how force affects the motion of a projectile.


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.

Transfer (Learning Theory/relevance):


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).

Motivation (Teacher Created):


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.

3D Instruction - Lesson Procedure/Activities:


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
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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).

GUIDED PRACTICE (Checking for Understanding)


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.

INDEPENDENT PRACTICE (Monitor/adjust individual)


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.

DIFFERENTIATED LEARNING ACTIVITIES (Learning centers, manipulatives, special needs, etc.):

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
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Cooperative Graphing
Graphic Organizers
Group Discussion
Prediction
Think-Pair-Share

Assessments:

Formative Assessment (s):


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

Summative Assessment (s):


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

Reflections/Notes:
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Appendix A - Catapult Design Worksheet


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 does a catapult do?

________________________________________________________________

What is a projectile?

________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________

How does a catapult work?

________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________

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

________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________
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Appendix B - Lets Build A Catapult Worksheet

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.
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Appendix C - Catapult Test Data


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?

Test Distance Change you made and why


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.
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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.

Appendix D - Team Final Results


Team Trial One Trial Two Distance Rank
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Number Distance in inches in inches


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.

Appendix E - Catapult Reflection

Directions: In the space provided below, answer the following questions.


What was your group attempting to achieve with its catapult design?
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How did the catapult set the marshmallow in motion?


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
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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,

2017, from https://www.scholastic.com/teachers/blog-posts/genia-connell/valentine-stem-challenge-

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:

Catapults!. In Teach Engineering. Retrieved May 27, 2017, from

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