In this project, we were to master projectile motion and analyze our trebuchet to find the maximum range. To do this we built counterweight trebuchets. These trebuchets had to be similar to the design of the trebuchets from the era we chose. A counterweight trebuchet is a siege machine. It has a counterweight to swing an arm over the axle. When the arm swings over it throws a projectile.
In this project, we were tasked with throwing a projectile as far as possible with a counterweight trebuchet. In order to get the greatest distance, we must maximize our projectile motion. Projectile motion is the motion of an object under the influence of gravity after it has been thrown. The perfect angle to throw the projectile at is 45 degrees because it makes a nice arc and travels the most distance. If we throw the projectile straight out it won’t go very far because gravity will pull it down quickly. If we throw it straight up it just comes straight back down and makes no progress forward.
The next important thing to throwing a projectile as far as possible is velocity. Velocity is speed with a direction. It is important to note that you will not get good velocity if your ratio between your projectile and counterweight is off (1:133). To get good velocity we need good acceleration. Acceleration is the rate at which velocity happens. When the sling arm is pulled down and the counterweight is raised there is a lot of potential energy because gravity is pulling down on the counterweight and the only thing stopping it is you. When you let go all the potential energy transforms itself into kinetic energy and both the counterweight and projectile accelerate very quickly. This throws the projectile at a high velocity. If we had no counterweight, there would be no potential energy and when you let go the arm would not move. If your counterweight is not heavy enough, then your projectile would not have as much velocity and it would not go far. We had to work in groups in this project which required us to be a community of learners. A community of learners is a group of students that collaborate and communicate towards one common goal. In our case, it was our trebuchet groups working together to build a sound trebuchet. In our groups, we had to be creative and be critical thinkers. My group was a very good group of community learners. We would take the time to make sure we all knew what needed to be done. Then we were good at collaborating on those things to get them done. An example of that would be having two people on the sling and two people working on the base so we got more done at one time. In this project, we had to be creative in how we would build our trebuchet and make it line up with a time era. We picked the 21st century which I feel is creative because it meant we could focus more on a good design rather than having to conform to the restraints of a time era. During this project, we had to critically think to solve problems. For example, when we had to figure out how our sling would release we didn’t know what to use for a release pin so it could be easily adjusted. After thinking for a while we came up with the idea to use a tent stake.
I struggled to feel useful during this project because I did not know what was going on. I would follow around a group member and just observe because we didn't know what I could do. When I had things to do they were really hard for me to accomplish. The way I dealt with this was I did what I knew I could do which was to make a list of what was left to be done for the project. Then I knew what we should work on when we had short periods of time to work. I also did more research for our project so I would understand better.
Even though I had a hard time in this project I think I brought skills to my group. One is never forgetting my ID. Also, I am an organizer; I made a list of things we had left to do which helped us visualize what needed to be done, and what we needed to drop, like a release system. Finally, I am a future thinker so I would think of things way in advance, that had not crossed their minds yet. Even though I struggled through this project I still had small things to offer.