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Angry Birds Catapult Project

To learn about force, energy, work, simple machines, and the scientific method, students will be creating Angry Birds catapults. They will research the history of catapults, different types of catapults and simple machines, construct their own catapult, test their creation and collect data, and report the results of their trials. This project covers the following Missouri GLEs for science:
FM2F Explain how work can be done on an object (force applied and distance moved) Recognize simple machines change the amount of effort force and/or direction of force Identify the simple machines in common tools and household items

SI1a Formulate testable questions (hypotheses) Recognize characteristics of a fair and unbiased test Conduct a fair test to answer a question Make suggestions for reasonable improvements or extensions of a fair test

SI1b Make qualitative observations using the five senses Determine the appropriate tools and techniques to collect data Use a variety of tools and equipment to gather data Measure length to the nearest cm, mass to the nearest gram etc. Compare amounts/measurements Judge whether measurements and computation of quantities are reasonable

SI1C Use quantitative and qualitative data as support for reasonable explanations Use data as support for observed patterns and relationships, and to make predictions to be tested

SI1D Evaluate the reasonableness of an explanation Analyze whether evidence and scientific principles support proposed explanations

SI1E Communicate the procedures and results of investigations and explanations through: Oral presentations Drawings and maps Data tables Graphs (bar, single line, pictograph) Writings

ST1A Design and construct a machine, using materials and/or existing objects, that can be used to perform a task

ST1C Identify how the effects of inventions or technological advances may be helpful, harmful, or both

ST3A Work with a group to solve a problem, giving due credit to the ideas and contributions of each group member

All the links are found on a webpage I made. Go to my website and click Angry Birds Catapults. The steps are listed there, so whichever day youre on, you can tell the students to find that step on the webpage. Divide students into groups of three. Each student will keep an Angry Birds Journal to record their work each day.

These are the 10 steps and their estimated lesson time: Step 1 (two days): Research the scientific method. Step 2 (one day): Research catapults. Step 3 (one and a half days): Research simple machines. Step 4 (half day): Research levers. Step 5 (one day): Practice. Step 6 (one day): Develop questions and procedures for your experiment. Step 7 (three-four days): BUILD. Step 8 (one day): Test. Step 9 (half day): Graph results. Step 10 (one and a half days): Share results.

Step 1 (two days): Research the scientific method. Show students the Scientific Method Study Jam and BrainPOP videos. Discuss the importance of using all the steps to do an experiment. As a class, go through all of the steps as you conduct an experiment on the strongest brand of paper towels. You can choose to test regular white, quilted paper towels versus the recycled paper towels we use at school, or you can test different brands of similar kinds. Give each student a copy of the My Science Journal packet for them to follow along as you complete the experiment. Ive filled out a sample one to show the possible hypotheses, data collection, etc. Spend two days going through the steps, doing the experiment, graphing the results, and making conclusions. Assess student understanding of the scientific method with the Scientific Method Quiz. Inquiry questions: How can you make a fair, testable question? How can you tell if a test is fair? What are the steps in the scientific method? Why are all the steps in the scientific method important?

Step 2 (one day): Research catapults. Students use the links to find information. Students record answers to questions in their journals. Inquiry questions: Why was the catapult invented? What different types of catapults are there?

Step 3 (one and a half days): Research simple machines. Introduce students to the six types of simple machines. You could use the Study Jams slideshow, the Bill Nye videos, or something else. Have students explore the different types of machines and their uses using the

links on the webpage. There are LOTS of good ones! Assess student understanding of simple machines with the post-test from EdHeads. Inquiry questions: What is work? How can simple machines change the amount of effort needed to do work? What are some simple machines you use all the time?

Step 4 (half day): Research levers. Introduce students to the three different classes/types of levers. Have them explore the different types by visiting the links on the webpage. Inquiry questions: What are three types of levers? How are they different from each other? How are they the same? How do the different types of levers affect the direction of the force?

Step 5 (one day): Practice. Have students play Angry Birds, Projectile Motion, and other simulations. These will give students some experience with the changes they can make in catapults and how it affects the projectile motion. Last year Angry Birds was blocked; this year it seems Angry Animals is blocked. Use what works! Inquiry questions: How does the angle of your launch affect the distance object (or bird) travels? How can you make your object launch faster? Slower? How does the size of your object (or bird) affect how far it travels? If you miss the first time, what are some of the changes you can make to get closer to your target? What is the load? What is the fulcrum?

Step 6 (one day): Develop questions and procedures for your experiment. Discuss with students the catapults they will be building. They will need to make a prediction (hypothesis) and design a procedure for building their catapult. Have students type this up so theyre ready to present it at the end. Hypotheses will likely be related to the masses of the birds. They will be testing a small marshmallow and a big marshmallow (both birds) to see which gets them to the target. So, examples would be If the mass of the marshmallow is smaller, then the bird will fly further. They are basing these predictions on the experiments they did with the Angry Birds and Projectile Motion games. Inquiry questions: When you build your Angry Bird catapult, what are you going to test? (Problem/ question) Make a prediction about which variable will be the most important to getting your bird to the target (Hypothesis). How will you build your catapult? (Procedure) How will you test it? How will you collect your data? (Data collection) How will you share your data? (Share findings)

Step 7 (three-four days): BUILD. Have students bring in supplies to build their catapults. Send home a parent letter requesting supplies. If students dont have supplies, let them take quizzes to earn supplies from the store. Prepare items in a store ahead of time and let students know what will be available. The quizzes are questions from standardized science test books. Their goal is to create a catapult that will launch a marshmallow "Angry Bird" straight to the target OR launch the marshmallow the furthest. They will use their catapult with two different "birds." They should create one from a large marshmallow and one from a small marshmallow. Some possible supplies to bring: small blocks of wood, duct tape, string, rubber bands, paper clips, plastic cups, small dixie cups, paint stir sticks, popsicle sticks, plastic silverware, markers, empty toilet paper rolls, clothes pins Inquiry questions:

What works and doesn't work? What changes did you make? What makes the catapult more accurate? What makes the bird go the furthest? Does mass affect the results? How do objects move? What are some forces that act on objects in motion? How did the catapult set the marshmallow in motion? What challenge did your catapult meet best, accuracy or distance? What helped the catapult? What happens when the arm of the lever is shortened or the load is moved? What happens when you move the fulcrum? What is the relationship between force and distance? What happens when you adjust the angle?

Step 8 (one day): Test. All along, students are testing their catapults. Once theyve created a design that they think is the most accurate, they will test and record their data. Have students find the masses of each marshmallow. Have them record the distances OR accuracy of their launches. Students should also draw a diagram of their catapult, and label the load, fulcrum, and force.

Step 9 (half day): Graph results. Students should type their data into the table in the document thats linked from the webpage to create a graph. They should print their graphs. Have students make conclusions based on their results. They should decide whether their hypothesis was supported or rejected by their data.

Step 10 (one and a half days): Share results. Have the groups prepare presentations of their results for the class using a display

board or poster. Boards should include: data collection table, labeled drawing of catapult, photograph of catapult, graph of results, question/problem, hypothesis, procedure, and conclusion.