May STEAM activity

Make an easy catapult.

You will need:

a sturdy cardboard tube

a large hair elastic

a wooden spoon

a projectile of your choice

Keep a look out in your recycling bin for a sturdy cardboard tube.

Loop the hair elastic over the cardboard tube twice. Find the spot where the hair elastic crossed over and makes a X. With the wooden spoon perpendicular to the cardboard tube, insert the handle of the wooden spoon under the X, and slide through until approximately half way.

And now you have a basic lever catapult! The next step is to find a projectile. A scrunched up piece of paper, held together with an old elastic band, makes a great soft projectile for indoors.


Eplore: How can you make the projectile go higher? Further? Can you create a goal and score using the catapult? Do heavy or light objects fly further? Why?
Fun Science

Our catapult is actually a lever. A lever is a simple machine, consisting of a beam (which, in this case, is the handle of the wooden spoon) connected at a fixed point (created by the elastic band) to a pivot or fulcrum (the cardboard tube). A seesaw is a classic example of a lever, with the fulcrum in the middle point.
Levers affect the force, or effort, needed to lift something. By varying the distances between the force, the fulcrum and the load (which, in our case, is the projectile), the amount of effort to lift the load can be decreased, making the job easier (and the projectile fly higher).



February Home Challenge

What is the tallest structure you can make using one pack of playing cards?
Extension: What else can you build with playing cards?
Please email your home challenges to


January Home Challenge

Can you make a Pringle Ringle?

Well done to everyone who succeeded.