Plants have some amazing and very effective ways of dispersing their seeds. From apple trees with tasty fruit eaten by migrating animals, to dandelions sporting feathery seeds that float on air. There are some plants that use a little firepower. Impatiens do not produce hard shell seeds; they have a small green seed pod that will literally explode with a simple touch or wind. It catapults its seeds.
Watch to see how impatiens disperse their seeds!
Large and small craft sticks
Binder clip (optional)
Plastic cup (optional)
Something to projectile (seeds, pom poms, or marshmallows)
Paint or markers to decorate the popsicle sticks
1. Start by drawing a design for your catapult. There are many different types of catapults to choose from. Design your own or try the one given below!
2. Make a stack of popsicle sticks by stacking them one on top of each other. Start with five (5) sticks.
3. Wrap a rubber band around each end of the stack to hold the stack together.
4. Take two popsicle sticks and stack them together. Wrap one rubber band around one end of these two sticks to hold them together.
5. Pull the two popsicle sticks slightly apart and place the larger stack of sticks in between the two.
6. Attach the larger stack to the stick on the top using a rubber band.
7. Set the spoon on the top popsicle stick and use a rubber band to lash it down. (optional)
8. The spoon should be facing cup side (scoop side) outwards.
9. Place a pom pom on the spoon.
10. Hold the catapult with one hand and use your other hand to pull down on the spoon. Release the spoon to watch the pom pom launch!
Where will the pom pom go? How far will it go?
Record your observations. Measure the distance the pom pom traveled. What might make a difference in how far it travels?
Try building the catapult with more popsicle sticks. What do you think will happen?
Design additional catapults for to see which design works the best! See video below for additional ideas.