During the Middle Ages, many English travelled to the Holy Lands to fight in the Crusades and constructed hundreds of castle fortresses at home. Invaders attacking these new fortresses used a new style of warfare to attack these castles that they developed when invading fortresses in the Holy Lands. This style of warfare, called siege warfare, called for 'siege engines," such as the catapult, to launch boulders and other heavy projectiles at the walls of a castle in order to crush defenders and crumble walls. Constructing a tabletop catapult is a perfect way to teach children about siege warfare and simple physics.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Metal spoon
- Electrical tape
- Soft projectile
Select a mousetrap that is small enough that children can work the spring mechanism. Larger traps may snap down on a child's fingers and harm them; smaller traps should pose no problem for a child.
Remove the mousetrap trigger and trigger arm from the trap with a pair of pliers.
Insert the handle of the spoon under the swing arm of the mousetrap so that the bowl of the spoon is face down. Push the spoon toward the trap so that the end of the handle almost touches the spring of the mechanism.
Tape the spoon to the swinging arm of the trap with electrical tape.
Carefully pull the swinging arm of the trap upright. Wrap tape completely around the swinging arm of the mechanism and the spoon.
Pull the swinging arm back so that the spoon's bowl faces upright. Place a projectile such as a cotton ball, marshmallow or grape into the bowl. Pull your hand back and allow the arm to swing freely to launch the projectile.
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- Middle-Ages: Siege Weapons
- Storm The Castle: How to Make a Mouse Trap Catapult
- "Catapult Design, Construction and Competition with the Projectile Throwing Engines of the Ancients;" Bernard F Barcio; 2006
- "The Art of the Catapult: Build Greek Ballistae, Roman Onagers, English Trebuchets, and More Ancient Artillery;" William Gurstelle; 2004