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Mini Catapults – Virtual Science Space

Let’s Get Physics-al!

Today’s activity is simple science that will give your children HOURS of fun. With just three household items, you will be able to build a mini catapult that gives those medieval makers a run for their money! Ok…maybe not. BUT – this activity is so easy and shows children of all ages some basic physics principles while helping them blow off some steam at home as they test different items to fling near and far. Be sure to download the activity sheet and join in!

What you will need:

  • 7 paddlepop sticks
  • 1 wooden spoon (or plastic)
  • 5 rubber bands


Now what? 

You’ve got a catapult – hooray! 

Now see if you can make designs that fit with the following challenges: 

  1. Make a catapult that fires a pom pom from the floor of your room to the ceiling. 
  2. Make a catapult that fires a pom pom from one side of your lounge room to the other. 
  3. Make a catapult out of entirely recycled materials – that means no rubber bands! 
  4. Make the smallest working catapult you can! 

Got some awesome designs? We’d love to see them – tag us on Instagram @sciencespacewollongong




[TARA] Hey guys, I’m Tara, I’m an ambassador here at Science Space, and today we’re going to be making catapults. So what you’re gonna need today is some paddle pop sticks, parents you might need to get your kids to eat roughly ten icy poles for this one, to get enough paddle pop sticks. So we’re gonna have our ten- sorry about seven- paddle pop sticks, and a wooden spoon to launch our catapult today. You’ll also need a handful of rubber bands, and to make this a little bit more exciting, you can play with colours and use your favourite colours to make your catapult today. And then lastly, you’re going to need some pompoms, and at the very end you can experiment with some different sizes but we’ll get onto that in just a second. So what we’re gonna do, first up we’re gonna grab six paddle pop sticks. And what we’re gonna do with these is we’re going to stack them, one on top of the other, like this. So we’ve got four, we’ll grab five, and one more. Okay, so once we’ve got our six paddle pop sticks lined up nice and flat like this, we’re going to grab one elastic band to pop onto the end. And you’re going to need to make sure you tie this up nice and tight, so looping your elastic band around until it can’t go any further. So that’s one end done, we’re gonna also flip it around and add an elastic band to the other end. I’m going to be using blue for this one. So same thing, making sure it is nice and tight to hold our paddle pop sticks together. Okay, so we’ve got the base of our catapult ready to go, what we’re gonna do now is move on to the exciting bit, the actual launching part. So for this you’re going to need one more paddle pop stick and our wooden spoon. And now for this we’re going to pop our wooden spoon just on top of our paddle pop stick like this. And you’re going to grab another elastic band, and secure them together at the bottom. So similar thing as we were doing before, making sure our elastic band is nice and tightly looped around, so that these two are joining together. Okay, now for the tricky bit. So we’re going to open up our catapult like this, using your hands, you might need to use your muscles a bit for this one. And then you’re going to slide your catapult over the base. Now, we’ve got just a couple of steps left to go. What we’re going to do is grab our second last elastic band, and we’re going to pop it diagonally over our catapult like this. We’re going to tie it around a couple of times, so it’s nice and secure. And then we’re going to use one last elastic band, i’m going to match with another pink one, and we’re going to go on the opposite diagonal, so heading over this side, until it looks like a cross. And now you can try that one very slowly if it’s a little confusing to cross over. Okay, so now we have our catapult ready to launch. So what i’m gonna do is i’m gonna test it out with a little one first, and then we can move on to a slightly bigger one. So for launching our catapult you’re going to pop your pom pom on nice and steady and hold it towards the base because you’ll get more aim that way. And letting go, our catapult launches our pom pom  just a tiny little bit into the air, but I’m going to try it with a bigger one. And now you can also experiment at home with some other things that are spherical, i’ve heard peas work very well as well. So for this one i’m going to do the same thing, i’m going to pop it on and i’m going to launch it. Are we ready? 3,2,1! 


[TARA] So there we go, we’ve created a successful catapult, it’s very easy, you can do it at home as well using all of these materials. Thank you for watching everyone. 




Virtual Science Space is our offering to the community during these challenging times. We are aiming to help all aspiring scientists, engineers and STEM lovers alike to continue their STEM learning at home.

Using our amazing  STEM Team made up of real-life scientists, science students and aspiring educators to we have videoed awesome experiments, fantastic demos (that come directly out of our LIVE science shows) and put together some maker challenges for you and your children to do together at home.

As the COVD-19 situation is evolving at a rapid speed, we have done our best to quickly create these materials. As such, we have not edited ANY of these videos, and we ask that you please be understanding.  All videos will have closed captioning available via our YouTube channel.

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