My Favorite: Marshmallow Catapult

When graphing parabolas I had lots of students ask when are we going to use this. One way I wanted to answer the question was by getting their hands dirty and make things. As of lately I have been big into the maker push, where students learn best by building and making things.

Next year I will teach and introduce the catapult at the same time, but this year I used it as more of an activity in between graphing parabolas and solving parabolas. 

To start we watched this video to get their interested sparked: 

Students received 10 popsicle sticks, one spoon, and 7 rubber bands. Their challenge was to create a catapult that will launch a marshmallow more times than any other group. Once students have created their catapult they will test and launch a marshmallow.

Students will take a burst photo and combine these photos on an app called SplitPic. On SplitPic you can have multiple photos overlapped onto one image. Students will put this in Desmos and find the equation of the parabola.

Students will use this picture in a Seesaw activity.  They had to describe the graph of the parabola and what it meant, how using the graph would help them, and do you need to change anything?

Here were some example blog posts:

The next day I gave students 10 minutes to practice, then we put their catapults to the challenge of getting as many shots into a paper bag as possible.  Here were some of the photos of our competition.

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