Mini Mangonel

Catapults are fun! This “mini mangonel” is a really simple, safe design that was invented by my friend Jonathan Sanderson as part of his work for the University of Northumbria’s engineering outreach team, NUSTEM. I was delighted they allowed me to use this for Mr Shaha’s Marvellous Machines because it perfectly fitted in with my aim of having “machines” in the book which were easy to make and left lots of room for children to “tinker“, and develop them into something better for themselves.

TOP TIP: If you don’t have a table tennis ball to hand, a scrunched up piece of foil works just as well.

DOWNLOADS: Of course, I’d prefer you to buy my book, but if for any reason you can’t, click here for a free worksheet from NUSTEM.

TEACHERS: If you want to do this as an activity, it’s worth reading Jonathan’s blog post about it.

EXTRAS: If you want to build the crisp-tin catapult shown in the video, instructions are in my book Mr Shaha’s Recipes for Wonder or you can watch a video I made about it for the Royal Institution by clicking here.

MORE GOOD STUFF: Click here for more activities. I’ll be publishing more videos of activities from my book over the coming weeks. Check back here, follow me on Twitter or subscribe to my YouTube channel to make sure you don’t miss them.

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