Uplifting Levers!


How Is A Catapult A Lever?

Catapults are what we call a class-one lever. Class-one levers are used in order to lift (or in this case, launch) an object with more ease, or lift it with greater speed. 

In the video, the pivot (a PVC pipe) is called a fulcrum. When a beam is placed on the fulcrum, we can use this lever to make an object move. We call the object being lifted the load, and we call the force you put in to lift/launch the object the effort. In our video, the effort is the force applied when jumping on the end of the lever that is opposite the object. Depending on where you place your load, how much effort you put in, and where you place your fulcrum, your object will be launched to different vertical and horizontal distances. 

For an explanation of this simple machine that is super important in our everyday life, watch this video: 

To find out how staplers, rakes, wheelbarrows, and pliers are all types of levers, follow this link to learn about the different classes of levers: 

Your Challenge: 

Record your observations in your science journal. You can include: 

  • a sketch of your catapult 
  • launch distance measurements for each trial
  • how far your fulcrum is from your launch object for each trial 
  • additional observations and data