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Ready, Set, Launch!

Four students in front of their popsicle stick creations. thumbnail254893
Collaboration is key in Mr. Robert Marino’s science classes at Albert G. Prodell Middle School. Recently, teams of seventh graders used popsicle sticks, rubber bands and pencils to launch slightly stale marshmallows across the room.

What may seem like a middle school prank was actually a STEM lesson that incorporated building, testing, evaluating, refining and continuing to make a better trebuchet while applying Newton’s Laws of Motion. The lesson sent many back to the drawing board to meet the two parts of the Trebuchet Marshmallow Challenge – distance and accuracy.

The students learned the history of this type of catapult that uses a long arm to throw a projectile. Its proper design allows it to launch projectiles of greater weights and further distances than that of a traditional catapult. The first part of building it was putting together the frame, a sturdy piece that would take on most of the strain, then preparing and adding the arm. Then each team used a marshmallow as the projectile. The students used math and physics to understand how to successfully meet the challenge.

Click here to view the photo slideshow.

Date Added: 2/7/2024