Launching learning with the Catapult Challenge at Ridge Park Elementary

Colonial School District  |  Posted on

Ridge Park Elementary second graders working on their catapults

Second grade engineers in Mrs. Jennings and Mrs. Mattiola’s classes at Ridge Park Elementary School (RP) embarked on an exciting challenge after receiving a bag of supplies and a simple instruction: “build a catapult.”

The students split into pairs and drew plans based on the contents of the bag: a roll of masking tape, popsicle sticks, straws, rubber bands, a plastic spoon and a ping-pong ball. With their plans in hand, the pairs set to work, using their creativity and problem-solving skills to construct a successful catapult.

“It was hard to build,” said RP second grader Gianna Clark. “We had to do a lot of taping.”

Once construction was complete, the real fun began as they tested their catapults in designated areas around the room. For second grader Noah Bauer, the testing phase was the highlight of the project.

“[My favorite part was] bouncing it, making it launch,” said Noah.

In addition to figuring out how to build a catapult, they also had to figure out how to work as a team.

The Ridge Park second graders were among 10,000 Pennsylvania elementary students taking part in the activity, known as discoverED 2024, and partnered with a class in the Pittsburgh area to share their progress and ideas. The design challenge, led by the Fox Chapel Area and Avonworth School Districts, marked the official kickoff of “Remake Learning Days” in Pennsylvania.