Student-Designed and Built Sling Shots, Catapults, Trebuchets and More in Action at Spring Fling

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Students apply STEM skills at inaugural Launch Design Challenge.

Wednesday afternoon 250 middle and high school students on 50 teams competed in the inaugural statewide Spring Fling Launch Design Challenge. Applying STEM skills learned in their classes, students competed using sling shots, catapults, trebuchets and other tools of their own design and construction on the Fort Hayes campus, Jack Gibbs Blvd. The PAST Foundation and Experience STEM are the lead sponsors.

Participating schools included: Metro Early College High School, Reynoldsburg eSTEM Academy, Reynoldsburg Middle School, Linden McKinley STEM (CCS), Kilbourne Middle School (Worthington), Bexley High School, Hannah Ashton Middle School (Reynoldsburg), Hamilton STEM Academy (CCS) and Windsor STEM Academy (CCS).

Students participated in up to four challenges:

  • Building and competing with siege machines — sling shots, catapults and trebuchets — while applying engineering, science and math skills
  • Designing tapestries or heraldic banners, using what they’ve learned in art and social studies classes
  • Reenacting Shakespeare’s speeches and vignettes, with theater and language arts skills
  • Applying strategy and gaming skills with the warfare board game Junior Generals

A panel of local expert judges evaluated the students’ work. WCBE General Manager and Amazing Science Emporium Host Dan Mushalko emceed the challenge and hosted the awards ceremony.

“STEM education focuses on hands-on learning. By participating in this design challenge students take what they’ve learned in their classrooms, in a variety of subjects, and apply it to solve real world problems,” said Ohio STEM Learning Network Principal in Residence Marcy Raymond. “The Spring Fling Launch Design Challenge is inspired by the renewed interest in medieval siege machines used at ‘pumpkin chunkin’ competitions around the country.”

Event sponsors included: Academy Games, Battelle, CATCO-Phoenix, COSI, Columbus Area Boardgaming Society, Columbus City Schools, Columbus Museum of Art, Education Council, eTech Ohio, Franklin University, Greater Linden Development Corporation, Indigo Strategies, Ohio Department of Education, Ohio STEM Learning Network, The Ohio State University, including the Colleges of Engineering, Arts and Sciences and Education and Human Ecology and the Physics department, The Ohio State University Scholars program, The Ohio State University Chapter of Women in Engineering, PAST Foundation, WCBE and the Wexner Center for the Arts.

ExperienceSTEM is the Ohio STEM Learning Network’s ( central Ohio hub.


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Stephanie Tresso

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