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Age Range: 5-7 | 7-11
Duration: 0-29 mins
  • D & T
  • Science
  • Maths

Snowball catapult

Build a catapult to launch cotton wool balls in this quick science experiment.

Build a snowball catapult capable of firing cotton wool balls in this festive activity for kids. How far are you able to fire them?

By the end of this activity, learners will be able to:

Engineer a catapult that harnesses potential energy and then releases it quickly, transferring that potential energy into movement as the snowball is fired into the distance.

How long will this activity take?

This activity will take approximately 5 minutes to complete.

What equipment will you need?

9 x lollipop sticks, 2 x elastic bands, cotton wool balls

How to do it

  • Step 1
    Stack 5 of the lollipop sticks on top of one another.
  • Step 2
    Place the 6th lollipop stick across the stack of 5 sticks in the shape of a cross.
  • Step 3
    Place the remaining 3 sticks on top of the ‘cross’ stick, like the first 5 lollipop sticks.
  • Step 4
    Wrap the elastic bands tightly around the thick stack of lollipop sticks at either end.
  • Step 5
    Pull a piece of cotton wool from your cotton wool ball and roll it around to make a snowball.
  • Step 6
    Place the snowball on the longest end of the ‘cross’ stick, and press down on the shorter end using one hand.
  • Step 7
    Using the other hand, press back on the snowball and then fire!

For more content from Marvellous Marthy, have a go at our Snow Blizzard in a Jar activity or, to extend your catapult design skills, try the Marshmallow catapult activity.

You can find both activities in Santa’s STEM Workshop.

Download the free activity sheet below!

All activity sheets and supporting resources are free to download, and all the documents are fully editable, so you can tailor them to your students’ and your schools’ needs.

The activity sheet includes teacher notes, guidance, useful web links, and links (where appropriate) to the national curriculum in each of the four devolved UK nations; England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Oh ho ho, and please do share your experiment highlights with us @IETeducation! #SantaLovesSTEM.


Snowball catapult

Marvellous Marthy shows us how to make a snowball catapult

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