Margaret Roberts: Catapult Crazy

My week has consisted of homework, lacrosse, and more homework. I have been up until crazy times trying to finish my homework on time. It feels like each teacher gave us every hard assignment due this week.

One assignment, though, was definitely worth the loss of sleep. His name is Fredrick Spartan Jr. and “he” is our catapult. By ours, I mean Elaine’s and mine. We are in calculus together and our project was to make a catapult that could launch distances of 5ft, 10ft, 15ft, and 20ft. It took us a long time to figure out a design because we wanted something cheap and that would be strong enough to launch. We decided to make it out of pencils.

So, Tuesday night after lacrosse practice we went to her house and got started. It was harder then it seemed. We were thinking we were going to blow through, it but in no time it was 2:00 in the morning. We used handy dandy duct tape, rubber bands, a children book, and molly’s tablespoon. The highlight of my night was when Elaine went to the store to get more rubber bands and came back with two mouse traps. It was strange but she told us the story. She went into the store with all the change from her car and asked the guy behind the counter if he sold rubber bands and he said we have band aids. So from there she bought mouse traps. The only thing we had left was to do the work that came with the catapult.


After practice on Wednesday night we met in the art building so she could print out pictures and work on the math. We thought this was going to take about an hour but we were fooled. Trust me – we will not be fooled again. Next time we will start a day before. Well, for the math part we had to fire a pretend arrow from five different locations and get a formula. This had to do with quadratics and parabolas. To make it trickier, when we launched the arrow, we had to clear a wall and make it into the castle. This involved making the vertex high enough so it could get over the wall and reach the target point inside. After we figured out the equations we had to graph them on a separate piece of paper. I believe this took the longest because we had to be the most accurate. They all worked out, though, and we were so excited to present Fredrick Spartan Jr. on Thursday.


We met in calculus class around 2:30, and we were so nervous about the competition. I know Fredrick did not want to lose, but I assured him that we would not. Every other group had theirs and, of course, we were comparing to see if we had an advantage. The first advantage that Fredrick had on all his opponents was that he was stronger than them. Instead of pulling the tablespoon back with one rubber band, we had two or four. We figured out that the more tension you have pulling an object back, the further it will go when released. If we did not figure this out, we would have never made the twenty feet.

Now the competition began. He made the five feet we suspected. Then the ten feet was reached. Fifteen feet was harder because we did not know how far to pull the tablespoon back. But twenty feet was no problem. Fredrick was a champion and he pulled through. He even won the bonus because he shot the ball the farthest. He definitely moved up in the world of catapulting. If anyone wants to challenge him, he will be ready at any moment. Prepare yourself, Joe!

This competition was by far the most fun I have had yet at Pine Manor College! I am looking forward to more!!

4/26/14 - Softball
2014 GSAC Tournament
L, 8-0 (6 inn.) vs. Salem
Box Score | Recap

4/25/14 - Softball
2014 GSAC Tournament 
L, 9-8 vs. Wesleyan GA
Box Score | Recap

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