Students do the math with pumpkin catapult

Do you wish that you could have fun in math class? Most kids do, but math isn’t a very easy subject to make enjoyable. However, Mr. Steve Dalton managed to do this with some of his classes by making a real-life application of quadratic equations with a pumpkin catapult. 

According to Dalton, the idea to use pumpkins to demonstrate parabolas in equations came from his own students. “There was a project having to do with Skittles, and we were working on it in class, and as we were leaving one of my kids said, ‘It would be really cool if we could launch a pumpkin’.”, said Dalton.

Dalton said that he used scrap lumber and built the catapult himself and obtained the pumpkins from Kroger. He stated that the reason he used pumpkins was because kids would enjoy being outside more and that they would be able to see real world application of quadratic equations.

“I did enjoy this lesson more than a regular lesson because, on top of learning, it was about having a good time. I got to launch pumpkins with my friends out of a catapult. That just screams fun,” said one of Dalton’s students, sophomore Calla Garretson.

Garretson said that she found the experience much more thrilling than sitting in a classroom and looking at graphs. She also stated that it was very interesting to find real-life applications for math that she does every day.

“I did feel that the catapult helped to illustrate Mr. Dalton’s point and lesson more than if he just told us or just gave us notes in class because it allows what he is teaching us to be practically applied in the real world.”

Holder said that he preferred that lesson to regular ones because it gave his team a real, physical goal to work towards.


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