Science of catapulting

Marshmallows flung across the floor at Loutit District Library on Wednesday afternoon, propelled by homemade catapults.
Julie Angell
Jul 10, 2014

 

The ballistic devices were created by kids as part of the library’s science-themed learning program. Catapults were constructed before the launching competition on Wednesday, and then brought into the library to see whose contraption reigned supreme.

The idea for the contest came from the library’s medieval-themed learning program several years ago, and was brought back with an emphasis on the current science theme.

The competition barely riled up the silent library as participants and their assistants fixated their attention on each marshmallow soaring into the air. Crowds lined up on either side of the landing strip and cheered after each distance was announced.

The farthest marshmallow fling was 19 feet long, but the other competitors weren’t far behind.

Catapults ranged from a modest purple popsicle contraption to tall, intimidating devices.

This was 10-year-old Abbi Hokstra’s first activity through the library. She said she was excited to try out her purple cheetah-print catapult.

“We wanted to see if we could win something,” Hokstra said. “It was also just for fun.”

Hokstra got the idea to build her own device from her brothers, and so the whole family showed up to compete. Her brothers held their sturdier contraption, complete with camouflage decor, and waited patiently for their turn.

“It’s always fun to see the families come back,” Youth Services Director Allison Boyer said.

Ryan Moreno from Robinson Township is one of the library program’s recurring participants. He was also an active participant in the rocket-launching event a few weeks ago. When Moreno wasn’t working on his current project, a homemade crossbow, he was busy engineering a catapult made from broken boards and old furniture.

The day ended with pandemonium as participants faced each other and had fun with a marshmallow-flinging free-for-all.

 

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