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Catapulting Devices in the STEM Lab

Launching with a catapult is always an exciting STEM Activity.

We have tried several different projects that involve using a catapult as the launching device. These challenges create some great competitions as we add contests to the mix.

I have five catapulting devices to share with you!

5 Types of Catapult STEM Projects

These challenges are always a favorite when students see the activities on our agenda board for the week!

  • Build a Catapult
  • Pumpkin Launchers
  • Basketball Goals
  • Football Goals
  • Launchers & Target

Are you ready to launch?

Design a Catapult

Build a Catapult STEM Challenge- students experiment with catapult angles and then use their data to compete in several ways.

In this Catapult STEM Challenge students build a device using craft sticks and rubber bands.

Then we experiment! Teams change the angle of the device and keep data tables of distances for the flights. The data is used for competitions.

We compete for distance, flying over a large object, and accuracy.

TIP: That little white cup in the photo is a condiment paper cup glued to the craft stick.

Pumpkin Launchers

Pumpkin Launchers- a catapulting device that can be used anytime. At Halloween, try tiny candy pumpkins, for Easter try jelly beans. You can also use pom-poms.

In this challenge, students use the materials to design a launching device to toss a small candy pumpkin.

After the devices are made and tested we compete by knocking down rows of foam cups.

TIP: This challenge can be used with different projectiles.

  • Christmas- red pom-poms
  • Valentine’s Day- conversation hearts
  • Easter- jelly beans

Basketball Goals and Catapults

STEM Cgallenge Basketball Goals. Students build a basketball goal and then a catapullting device to throw the ball. Upper elementary

Teams share the two tasks. One half of the team creates the basketball goal and the other makes the launching device.

The catapult is used to throw the ball through the hoop.

Yes, this STEM Challenge is very competitive! And yes every team wants to try the catapulting devices of all the other teams. We usually set up the goals and rotate to different tables.

TIP: I buy the netting for the goal by the yard at a craft store. Each team gets a small amount so you don’t need much for those little goals!

Football Goals and Catapult Devices

STEM Cgallenge Football Goals. Students build a football goal post and then a catapullting device to kick the ball. Upper elementary

The Football Challenge is similar to the Basketball Activity.

Teams split into two parts to build the football goalpost and the launching device.

Then we try to kick the ball through the uprights. Also, VERY competitive!

TIP: You can see a small football in the photos. I thought that would be a great idea and the students loved it. But it was heavy and hard to launch. The best type of football is simply a ping-pong ball!

Launchers and Target

Two teams work together to design a catapluting device and a target to hit with a pom-pom. Great STEM Challenge for upper elementary students!

I love the format of this Catapulting Device challenge.

Two teams work together. One team builds the target. The other team builds the catapult.

The BONUS of this challenge is how the two teams must work together as they build. The target must be the right size. The catapult must launch at the right height.

TIP: Grab paper from your scrap box for use as the targets.

These exciting STEM Projects are sure-fire winners in the STEM Lab. Your students will love them all!


In this post, for your convenience, you may find Amazon Affiliate links to resources. This means that Amazon will pass on small percentages to me with your purchase of items. This will not create extra costs for you at all! It will help me keep this blog running!

Five catapulting devices shared on this blog post. Students work in teams to complete these STEM Challenges.

STEM Essentials!

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