Build a Trebuchet

Downloadable (1 PDF - 8 pages) 

This is a design challenge based on engineering principles where students create and improve their own trebuchet to launch a weighted object to a target. An understanding of forces and levers is developed to successfully complete the task.

After completing this design challenge, students will understand:

  • Elements of the iterative design process
  • How to build a trebuchet and the components involved
  • Levers and why they are useful

Resources included:

  • Lesson plan
  • Student worksheet

Additional resources required:

  • Optional: Digital access to Medieval Levers on Wonderville.org
  • A marked target on the ground (can be created with a sheet of paper, a taped “x”, other)
  • A consistent weight for students to launch (e.g., golf ball or beanbag)
  • Scissors (one pair per group of 3-4 students)
  • Tape (preferably duct tape or heavy packing tape, one roll per group of 3-4 students)
  • A variety of materials for students to build their trebuchet with (at teacher’s discretion/choice). Examples: cardboard sheets, empty paper towel rolls, string, straws, styrofoam plates, plasticine or play-dough, wooden skewers.

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