Students ‘catapulted’ back in time to learn new skills, with an exciting new project.

Students have built three fully working scale models of ancient catapults and slingshots to develop their skills in problem solving, joinery, maths and science.

The aim of the project is to allow them to learn in a fun and engaging way. The skills that students are using during the project are essential in many STEM (science, engineering, technology and maths) careers.

Inspiration for the project came from construction teacher Christopher Partington, who set the students the challenge of throwing a five stone weight ten metres, without it touching the ground.

To develop the catapults, they researched ancient siege weapons, created plans for their construction and then worked in teams to build and test their completed projects.

The students hosted a ‘test day’ to see how far their designs could throw the weight, with the group which achieved the greatest distance winning the challenge.

Christopher, said:

“These students are only just starting out in their careers, so to have them doing this kind of work and building something on this scale that works so well, is brilliant. Apart from guiding them on what to research to solve the problem, they have completed this project on their own and I’m quite proud of that. The fact that they have learnt some really important things whilst having lots of fun is a big plus.”

Rhys Matthew, construction student at Tameside College, said:

“The project and the research into the catapults was different to other work that we’ve been doing which interested me a lot. It made everyone work together as a team, communicate and problem solve really well. We also learnt how to use different tools and materials that we hadn’t handled before which was good."

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