Catapulting Challenges

 Fruitvale ISD Catapults

Fruitvale ISD coach and teacher Troy Walker designs big challenges that engage his small class of seven junior high students so that they are constantly faced with new and exciting methods of thinking, designing, and building products.

Coach Walker’s recent endeavor challenged his students to build a catapult out of any available scrap material. Utilizing an engineering design process to plan their projects, the students researched designs and mechanics of catapults. Prototypes were developed from popsicle sticks, rubber bands, glue, and a plastic bottle cap. As part of the process, Coach Walker discussed how energy can be stored, transferred, and converted. 

Using their prototypes, students learned and explored how variables can affect the outcome of a launch. Students used the prototypes as a model when building the life-size catapults. Adjusting projection angles on the catapults, the students tested their final products. “The fun part for the students was not only building the catapults, but seeing how they performed on the football field,” Coach Walker said. The winning catapult flew over 160 feet.

The students enjoyed seeing the engineering design process from the beginning to the actual launch of the catapults. Coach Walker said he was excited to be able to provide a project that was fun yet educational.  “I am hoping that through our future challenges, students can continue to develop their teamwork and problem solving abilities,” said Coach Walker.   #IAmTXEd   Fruitvale ISD