The kids & I thought it would be fun to revive the catapult exhibitions we attended a few years ago, when they were too little to build any themselves. So, here we go:
June 11, 2014 11AM
Location: TBA green space near North York Centre
Participants: Children educated at home in and around the Greater Toronto Area
Comment here or send me a message (iam at this domain) and I’ll build a roster of participants
Catapults go by many names: ballistae, trebuchets, onagers, hsuan feng, mangonels, petraries, scorpions, tormenta, and others. What we’re looking for here is a ballistic device used to launch a projectile a great distance without the aid of explosive devices. Put your thinking caps on, get your tools out, work out the maths and angles, and build away.
We are thinking of setting up a system to measure the distance the objects are thrown, and also an accuracy/target course. Two categories: kid made only, and then the models which the adults helped with. Ammo wise, plan to use something similar to an orange — we’ll update this after we’ve had a chance to test a few things out. Depending on numbers we will either give everyone a chance to talk about their build in front of the group, or a set time where spectators can go from build to build and ask questions about it.
Ideally the space we pick in addition to the missile range will have some playground equipment for families with younger siblings, area to picnic for lunch, and generally hang out to make a day of it for those so inclined. I have a great spot in mind, I just want to test out the range of our builds to get a sense of how much space we’ll need before I settle on it. Don’t want any windows broken or near by roadways interfered with.
Not everyone is as handy with tools and building as they once were, so I hope to see some collaborations between different groups, maybe even some teaming up to share resources and expertise, or some grandparents pitching in. It could be just the opportunity you’ve been looking for to try a maker project? Alternatively you might want to start small and build a simple one out of craft sticks, or marshmallows.
A place you might want to check out in the course of your project is the Toronto Tool Library, they have a variety of tools available, and at their East End location a makerspace. Another makerspace in town that has woodworking capability is Site3 co-laboratory. Let me know if you are aware of others. Maybe we’ll see some 3D printed designs, in which case maybe check out the Digital Innovation Hub at the Toronto Reference Library?
A site we like is DIY.org, and they have a Catapult or Trebuchet challenge you can submit your project to, or review some of the devices other kids have made.
Some books we’ve found at the library that have designs and plans and ideas on how to get started are:
- The Art of the Catapult : build Greek ballistae, Roman onagers, English trebuchets, and more ancient artillery at least 9 different designs
- Stomp rockets, catapults, and kaleidoscopes : 30+ amazing science projects you can build for less than $1 – single catapult design using easy to acquire materials and few tools
- Miniweapons of Mass Destruction
Speaking of the library, maybe you’ll join us at our Wednesday afternoon homeschooler group at North York Central library (1:30-3pm in the storyroom). We plan to cover a few topics in the next couple of months applicable to catapults (levers & fulcrums for example is set for April 9th’s session for example).
Our family is interested in participating. I have three boys ages 12, 10 and 7.
I have two kids interested. An eight year old girl and 6 year old boy. They will likely both compete in the parent assisted one. Thanks for organizing this.
I have one son interested. Would love to be filled in on the details when available.
Chris, I am afraid that we won’t be able to participate this year. We have learned so much about catapults so thank you for taking the initiative.
Sorry to hear that Casey. Glad you learned a lot though. If it is a matter of not wanting to show them, or not feeling ready, you’re of course more than welcome to still come and watch and hang out.
I’m just putting together the email with the location details and things, I’ll include you still just in case.
I’ve sent around the location details to those who expressed interest. If you’re checking here last minute contact me and I’ll give you the location.