Bringing STEM activities into your home is easier than you think. This popsicle stick catapult is not only easy to build for all school-aged children, but it’s also a fun toy after you make it. Making these will train fine motor skills, examine Newton’s second and third laws of motion, and can be fun art projects.
Who is Newton and What Is a Law of Motion?
Sir Isaac Newton was a British mathematician, physicist, and author in the late 1600s. He defined three foundational principles of physical science and mechanics called the “laws of motion.”
Newton’s second law is actually a mathematical equation, but it states that the acceleration of an object is proportional to an acting force and inversely proportional to its mass (F=ma). In terms of our catapult, how fast our pom pom flies is determined by its mass and the force we put on it (i.e. pushing down on the spoon).
His third law is a bit easier to grasp: every action has an equal and opposite reaction. So as much as we push down on the spoon of our catapult, it will spring back with that much force.
Let’s start making our catapults so we can see what Newton saw in 1687!
CAUTION: Do not launch hard objects from these catapults! Do not aim at breakable objects either!