We were attacked!
Inspired by Amy Koester, we had an Attack on a Fort program this week. Aside from pulling together the supplies and building a sample catapult, my only prep work was building a PowerPoint, putting together a video, and trying to make all of my tech play nicely—by far the hardest part of the program.
In the PowerPoint, I used pictures to illustrate the ways to attack a castle: going over, under, or through the walls, or using guile (being sneaky) to get in. We talked about grappling hooks, scaling ladders, sappers, explosives, and the Trojan Horse. Aside from a picture of the Trojan Horse, I used the fantastic pop-up book The Odyssey by Sam Ita to illustrate. In the book, there is a whole Trojan Horse, complete with soldiers hiding behind a tabbed door. VERY cool.
I found the videos of a ballista, mangonel, and trebuchet in action, and a colleague of mine, Rachel, was really fantastic and edited and pulled them all together for me since I couldn’t get the software installed in time to do it myself. (Thanks, Rachel!!!) Then staff members here bent over backwards trying to help me make an iPad talk to the projector, and when we didn’t have the cables for that, make the laptop work without glitching…
You really didn’t need to know all of that, did you? Basically, I am surrounded with fantastic people who are a delight to work with. In the end, everything worked smoothly, kids saw a car, a piano, and an incendiary device being hurled through the air by a trebuchet and learned how that happens. Coolness factor +100.
Then, I demonstrated how we come equipped with our own catapults. I had them hold out one arm, palm up, hand relaxed. Then, with the other hand, pull back on their fingers and then release. The hand springs back up because the tension, like in a catapult, is stored in the arm muscle.
Step by step I walked them through making their own catapult with popsicle sticks and rubber bands. Then, I explained that they were going to make their own forts, and they had 15 minutes to do so. They were given large sheets of construction paper, scissors, tape, markers, and cardboard tubes. Once the 15 minutes were up, they gathered the forts into a circle and attacked each other with pompoms for another 10 minutes.
And the peasants rejoiced. (100 points if you can name that TV reference!)