Hold a contest:
To throw a “regulation” paper ball a distance. Set up a measuring tape or multiple yard/meter sticks and have line judges watch when the ball hits the ground. A whole host of scientific data analysis can crop up out of this part of the activity. You can perform several trials and even have a discussion on the purpose of trials and what constitutes enough trials. Students can do some statistics to see the reliability of each machine (mean, median, mode).
A regulation ball can be decided upon and made. This reduces the number of variables the machines have to deal with if they are all throwing the same type ball.
There really are a lot of learning opportunities in just letting a unit or investigation grow out of something your kids get excited about. Don’t be afraid to just drop what you are doing and get on the floor to figure things out with your kids. Our kids had a great time watching the building and performance of these huge machines over Thanksgiving. It was really amazing to watch all the work that goes into winning this contest! The kids asked a lot of good questions and got me thinking.
One of the best things about this is being willing to say yes when the kids ask if they can do it themselves. Plenty of information is a few clicks away and it doesn’t cost anything to begin a process and learn with your kids.
Thanks for joining in for the catapult fun! May your homeschool days be filled with adventures and exploration!
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