Launch STEAM learning this fall and discover new math and science concepts with Pumpkin Catapults! What better time to send mini pumpkins soaring than fall? Perfect for autumn learning, or as a Halloween activity, Pumpkin Catapults are an exciting introduction to the concepts of trajectories and measurements.
Children will love building their catapults, predicting how far their pumpkins will fly, observing where their pumpkins land, and using math skills to explore and measure distances. This easy-to-do activity is the perfect opportunity to encourage early STEAM explorations while having some fall fun!
See below to download our FREE printable!
What Are Pumpkin Catapults?
Pumpkin Catapults are an easy and fun way to incorporate seasonal STEAM learning into your classroom! Made of craft sticks and rubber bands, this simple activity offers endless lesson possibilities and loads of fun for students as they launch their mini pumpkins. Catapults are a classic building activity and fun science project for children at all times of the year as they explore the concept of trajectories and the factors that impact how far their pumpkins fly.
For older children, Pumpkin Catapults can be an engaging, and simplified, introduction to ideas of stored energy and kinetic energy. For younger children, the activity is a great way to spark critical thinking and creativity. No matter their age, kids young and old will love this high-flying fall activity!
Why Is STEAM Important?
Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math learning, or STEAM, incorporates creativity and art-focused explorations into traditional science and math lessons. Allowing children the freedom to create their catapults and explore the outcomes of their pumpkin launch, encourages not only critical thinking, but creativity, as children exercise problem-solving and math skills to make their pumpkin fly the farthest!
By making a simple machine like the Pumpkin Catapult, students will use science to hypothesize and predict how far their pumpkins will be flung, technology and engineering to build their catapults, art to think creatively and imaginatively about the outcomes of their pumpkin flights, and math to measure their pumpkin's distance! On their own, each of these concepts and skills are valuable to a child's development, but together, they create a rich learning opportunity for students to gain a well-rounded introduction to the concepts used in the Pumpkin Catapult activity!
How Can I Use This In My Lesson Plan?
An engaging and informative fall activity, Pumpkin Catapults are the perfect way to combine STEAM learning and fun! Children won't even realize they're gaining crucial early math and science skills when they build their catapults and launch their pumpkins. This activity is an easy way to incorporate early explorations into the scientific method, measurements, and concepts like trajectory into your lesson plan.
For example, encourage a child to predict what will happen to her pumpkin if she changes the design of her catapult. Watch as she explores trajectories naturally and uses problem-solving to change the height of her catapult, resulting in a different angle of flight. Explain to the child that when she added more craft sticks, the "trajectory," or angle, of her pumpkin's flight changed. Inspire her to continue exploring trajectories by adding and removing craft sticks for more STEAM discoveries!
Download our FREE printable below!
- Jumbo Natural Craft Sticks
- Rubber Bands
- Designer Craft Sticks
- Measuring Tape
- Bottle Cap
- Candy Pumpkins
1Gather Your Materials
Help children select a number of craft sticks, two patterned craft sticks, and rubber bands. Provide children with a craft stick with a bottle cap attached to one end and candy pumpkins for launching.
Teacher Tip: Glue bottle caps to craft sticks before children build their catapults to save time!
2Build Your Catapult
Begin building your catapult by stacking your craft sticks between the two patterned craft sticks selected by the student to create the catapult's base. Secure each end of the catapult's base with a rubber band. Add a craft stick to the bottom of your base and another, with the bottle cap attached, to the top. Hold one end of these craft sticks together, and secure them with rubber bands.
3Launch Your Pumpkin
Launch pumpkins with your students! Add a candy pumpkin to your catapult's basket (the bottle cap), hold it down, and release to launch. Encourage students to use a measuring tape and record the distance of their pumpkin's flight. Add more craft sticks for more height and a farther flight!
Fall into learning with fun seasonal activities and experiments! Browse our selection of related seasonal resources to encourage autumn explorations and incorporate engaging activities into your classroom.