The catapult challenge

Author: Camelia Timofte

Date: 27/02/2020

A STEAM mission-based activity about catapults. The activity was designed as a mission-based learning task whilst students designed collaboratively a catapult. There were 2 stages:

  • Theoretical stage – research/role play mission to be accomplished.
  • Practical stage – designing a catapult to accomplish the challenge aims.

Aims to be accomplished

  • Searching for and selecting accurate data having a specific learning purpose.
  • Designing educational presentation according to the mission assigned using various online tools.
  • Working collaboratively to design a presentation on a specific topic.
  • Incorporating the results of the mission into a common educational presentation.

Stage 1: Theoretical stage. Duration: 4 hours. Students worked in pairs/groups to design theoretical presentations about their assigned missions: narrators, historians, physicists, engineers and technicians.

International pairs or groups chose the appropriate digital tool to design collaboratively their research work. Students chose their roles according to their skills and interest. The result can be seen here.

Stage 2: Practical stage. The local team designed a catapult to accomplish the challenge: “to make the ball land into a basket from a hoop of about 30 cm diameter and about 30 cm in height. The hoop must be located at a distance of 1.5m of distance and it is necessary for the shot to overcome an obstacle of 1m in height placed just in the middle.”

The key competencies were assessed:

  • social skills – ability to communicate effectively to design collaboratively an educational product – number of educational product designed collaboratively
  • English skills – ability to use English effectively to convey accurately the information – language accuracy and appropriateness of information designed by the students
  • ICT skills – ability to use a digital tool to present appropriately the result of collaboration – quality of the educational products, features of designed products, interactive elements

Transversal competencies:

  • STEM approach involvement – identifying accurate solutions to difficulties raised using critical thinking and making decision appropriately.
  • Using information from STEM-related subjects to design the catapult – accomplishing the challenge.

Published by

cameliatimofte

I am an English teacher in Romania. I have been teaching for more than 20 years. Recently I have been involved in an Erasmus+ STEAM project. The experince was both challenging and informative for me. I would like to share my professional experince with some other enthusiastic teachers.

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