Teachers! Students Can Build a Trebuchet and Win Prizes
The Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation is hosting a STEM Artillery Challenge for upper elementary-level students! The students will build a tabletop trebuchet from an approved list of materials. They will then make a video of them shooting their trebuchet for accuracy and distance and post it to YouTube and send the link to email@example.com.
PURPOSE: To engage students in an interactive way with STEM and project-based learning.
AGE: The contest is for students who are equivalent to upper elementary-school age.
PROJECT: Groups will build a trebuchet of their own design from the list of approved materials below, not to exceed $20.00.
- They will then make a video of them firing their trebuchet for distance and accuracy. The video is to be no more than five minutes long and should include the students explaining their process, materials, and then demonstrating the trebuchet for distance and accuracy. How you choose to measure this is up to your students!
- Upload the video to YouTube, and then send the link to your YouTube video to firstname.lastname@example.org by 5:00 p.m., Friday, November 9.
SUPPLY LIST: Not to exceed $20. There is no need to use all the items, just what you need. The counterweight is not to exceed 5 ounces.
30 popsicle or craft sticks
String – no more than 6 feet total
Cardboard square – no more than 18-inches square
Dixie cup (little)
10 pipe cleaners
Scotch Tape – no more than 6 feet total
Paperclips – 10
Binder Clips (any size) – 4
2 Big pencils
24 Rubber Bands
Marshmallow projectiles – your choice of size!
Counter Weight (D Battery – 4.9 oz – Duracell; Fishing weights; Counterweight not to exceed 5 ounces)
Use a selection of these items to build a trebuchet and then make a video of the trebuchet in action. How you demonstrate accuracy, distance, and ingenuity is up to you! The trebuchets can be decorated however you choose.
Groups will upload the video of their trebuchet to YouTube and send us the link by 5:00 p.m. on November 9 to be judged on November 13. Contest winners will be notified by November 16. Please send the YouTube link to email@example.com.
The top three Finalists will be selected to be the Finalists and will be invited for a free tour and Finals Competition at the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown on Tuesday, December 4. The tour and contest will run from 9:30 a.m. – 1:15 p.m. The three finalists will also receive a cash prize based on their finish in the Finals. During the Finals, each team will get 15 minutes to explain their trebuchet, go over the materials used to make it, and then compete for accuracy and distance in a total of 5 shots.
Trebuchet Presentations & Contest (15 minutes each) – 5 shots each
- Prizes: 1st – $200, 2nd – $75, 3rd – $50
- Distance 50%
- Accuracy 40%
- Ingenuity 10%
STEM CONCEPTS Addressed by this Activity:
- Weighing and measuring materials
- Have the students use “classroom credit” to purchase the materials they need to build their trebuchet. Credits could be earned with scores, activities or anything else you may be doing.
- Use the video process to have students learn about technology and create their presentations.
- Calculating English to metric conversions