Eighth Grade Lesson Bridges Science and Art

Part science experiment, part art project and a whole lot of fun. 

Each fall, as part of the eighth grade’s interdisciplinary curriculum, Morghan Lewis, middle school science teacher, tasks her eighth grade students with designing and creating catapults. The assignment includes flinging paint-dipped cotton balls onto canvases to create paintings that resemble modern art. The goal? Lessons about projectile motion and factors that influence the path a projectile takes when launched.

Students work in groups to engineer their own catapults, using popsicle sticks, bottle caps, binder clips, rubber bands and zip ties. Lewis is always impressed with the end result. “I love the level of collaboration and ingenuity,” she said. “The students come up with such creative ideas.”
This week, the class of eighth graders went to the quad to test their projects.
Nizaabu Mukiibi ’27 said she learned how to think on her feet and was happy to see her group’s efforts come to fruition. “It was very satisfying to watch our week's worth of brainstorming ideas, unsuccessful test trials and unsuccessful ideas finally pay off.”
After scrapping their first design, Loewy Nalle ’27 and teammates Ella Rudensky ’27 and Kelsey Philibert ’27 had their catapulting routine down to a science. “One was launching, one was catching the cotton ball and one was filming,” Nalle explained. “We were really pleased with how the canvas turned out.”
The paintings will be on display at the eighth grade Arts Expo in the spring. 

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