Are you ready for some football? For most Americans, football is the epitome of fall. It is in full swing now and gives us great reasons to eat yummy snacks. Americans actually have a day set aside to celebrate football. November 5 is American Football Day, and it reminds us about the great sport and that the season is halfway over. So, how can football be translated into a STEM Challenge? There are actually many different possibilities for challenges that could connect to the real world that engineers work on. Creating helmets to prevent injuries, making gloves that provide the best grip, designing shoes that get the best traction on fields, and testing materials that make the ball aerodynamic to name a few. What others can you think of?
For this STEM Challenge, you will be tasked with designing the goalposts and a “kicker”. The object of the challenge is to design a little catapult-esque contraption that flings the “football” through the goalposts. What materials would work best for this and for accuracy? What shape, size, and design should the “kicker” be to be most effective? Can you replicate something out there already designed?
Your “kicker” creation does have some criteria and constraints. Determine specific dimensions for your goalposts so all groups experience fairness with their accuracy. The “kicker” should be self-sufficient in the manner that the “football” is flung by the “kicker” with limited help from the designer. Standardize the distance the “kicker” must be from the goalposts and then see if the design will work from further out. Track the accuracy of the “kicker”: out of 10 attempts, what is the accuracy percentage? Standardize the “football” for all groups (a crumbled piece of paper, small ball, eraser, pom poms, etc)
Hints and Tips for Success