Project description: The trebuchet project was my first real and hands on project at Animas. We made trebuchets through a long process of research and building. A trebuchet is an ancient siege weapon used for launching a projectile. The essential questions for this project were:
- How do you throw an object as far as possible with a trebuchet?
- How can the time era of the trebuchet be accurately portrayed in its design?
- What does it mean to collaborate in a community of learners?
Maximizing a Projectile’s Motion using Physics Concepts:
To launch a projectile as far as possible you have to have a ratio between the projectile and the counterweight. This is important because you need to have a good swing release that allows your projectile to launch as far as possible. If you have a counterweight that is too heavy you will have a release point that is too far forward. And if you have a counterweight that is too light the projectile will not launch as far. For every pound of the projectile there is 34 pounds of the counterweight(1/34).
A trebuchet has both potential and kinetic energy. In this case, it has potential energy when it’s not being released and the higher the projectile goes, the more potential it has to launch farther. It had kinetic energy when the projectile is released. When the counterweight is released the projectile accelerates. Acceleration is a change in velocity. Velocity is speed with a direction. So when the projectile accelerates, the projectile's velocity does as well.
Using 21st Century Skills to be a Community of Learners in the Trebuchet Project:
In this project the trebuchet depended on how well your group worked together. Communication and collaboration are a big part of group and are two things that go hand and hand. Communication is key because you are able to express your input but also to listen to other people’s ideas. My group definitely had moments when we weren’t communicating and things weren’t running smoothly. And collaboration is where I think the actual group mechanics work. Without collaboration nothing would get done. Once my group talked about what we needed to do we all worked together really well.
In this project each group tried to make their own trebuchet stand out from the others. In a group, creativity is really important because it shakes things up. During building and the end of the project we decided to make our projectile look like a pumpkin. Tina’s famous quote during this project was “Pumpkin Chunkin”. Creativity adds to the little things. Critical thinking was also very important in this project because it made building and planning professional and revised. We had to do a lot of math concepts of physics to determine how we would build something on our trebuchet. If we didn’t have critical thinking and just threw it together without precissness it would have been very sloppy.
During this project I felt like I had some challenges with the researching process and building. During the research portion to get the knowledge on our topics we had to either just read a article and take notes or have to listen to the teacher talk for the whole class period. I personally just have kind of a hard staying focused so that was a big challenge. I got over it by just sticking with it and doing as much as I could to stay on task so it wouldn't affect my grade. The other challenge was building my trebuchet. I struggled with using the tools so I had to other people in the group do my job. I dealt with it by letting someone else use the tools for something that was more important and used the tools when it was a minor task.
The strengths that I brought to the table in this project were leadership and communication. I think when we were kind of stuck me and some of the other team members that also expressed leadership picked the group up and got us started again. My group had a lot of moments when we just didn’t talk. And we didn’t know what to do because of the lack of communication. But I feel that I could ask what we were all doing to make sure we were all on the same page. I think both of these strengths are important because they help with getting back on task.