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Catapult Engineering

Grade Level: Middle School
Discipline: Science
Language: English
School Board: Buffalo Trail Public Schools


This video, created by teacher Nicole Cey, is a clear example of making teacher and student learning visible, as well as how thoughtful task design can lead to deeper student understanding and engagement.  In this task, students were challenged with designing and building a catapult that could launch a ball a minimum of 5 meters.  From the onset, students were expected to behave and think like engineers; this included coming up with an initial design, modifying it based on feedback and new learnings, building a prototype, testing and tweaking their catapults multiple times, and using design software to create accurate blueprints. In the end, all students were  successful, and also came away with a deep understanding of the scientific concepts at play.