Catapult Research & Rubric

Catapult Research & Rubric

Catapult Research Report

Purpose:To research the history and types of catapults in order to pick the best design for building yourself.

Background:The Newton High School Annual Catapult Contest has been going on for over 40 years.  A means of applying learned physics concepts and historical research, it has proven to be a challenge that’s educational as well as fun.  An important part of the contest is the research that takes place before any catapult building even begins.  You will be working on your own on this research paper, even though you might later decide to work with a partner to actually build your catapult.  

Procedure: Research catapults, trebuchets, ballistas, onagers, mangonels, and other ancient siege machines.  Focus on the history, physics, and construction behind them, comparing and contrasting the types of siege engines.  Look for the strengths and weaknesses of each.  Then write a 1-2 page (typed) composition summarizing your findings.  The paper should conclude with your discussion on which type of catapult you think you’ll design and your reasons for choosing it (which should be supported in your research).  Whenever you quote or paraphrase one of your references, use endnote style formatting1-3(or, if you prefer, MLA or APA format).  This will be demonstrated in class.  You must cite at least4 differentreferences in your paper.  

Grading:This paper will be half of a test grade.  The other half of your grade comes from the building of your catapult and the lab write-up on it.  The paper should contain proper grammar and spelling and should not be plagiarized from other sources.  (Proper citation is a must.)  Remember, you will be making decisions based upon your research, so much of your paper will contain your own opinions on your findings. If you have questions regarding paragraph structure, ask your physics instructor or an English teacher and they will be happy to assist you. This paper will be due November 14, 2012.  

1.  Melvin E. Page, “Citation Guide – General Citation Considerations,”, 2007.
2.  “Information for TPT authors,”, 2010.  Go down to the “References” section to read more on endnotes.
3. Steve Volk, “Footnote/Endnote Citation Form,”
Physics Name _______________________

Catapult Project Rubric

Catapult Paper:  ______ / 50

0-3 pts
4-7 pts
8-10 pts

_____ / 10
Multiple spelling errors, poor grammar, difficult to comprehend due to mechanics of the paper
Some misspellings and occasional grammar or organizational gaffs.  Paper still comprehendible
Very few to no spelling mistakes, few to no grammar errors.  Very easy to comprehend.
Content: Types of catapults & conclusion as to best type

_____ / 10
Only one type of catapult focused upon but no reason given why others are ignored
Only one type of catapult focused upon, but others are mentioned and the reason for the focus is clear
Several types of catapults are described in detail.  A conclusion is drawn on best type to build.
Content: History of catapults

_____ / 10
The history of catapults is not addressed or very briefly addressed
The history of the catapult(s) is mentioned, but there could be more detail given
The history is well covered, perhaps even including modern uses of catapults
Content: Physics of catapults

_____ / 10
The physics of catapults is not addressed or very briefly addressed, or is incorrect
The physics of catapults is correctly described, but more detail could be given
The physics of catapults is correctly described and in suitable detail
Citation/ References

_____ / 10
No citation is provided/no references provided (0 pts), or very little citation is evident. Fewer than 3 references used
Works are cited, but citations and/or references are not in End Note/MLA/APA format. 3 or 4 references used.
Works are cited and citations/ references are in End Note/MLA/ APA format. 4 or more references cited.

Working Catapult: ______ / 25

Lab Report: ______ / 25 Final Total: ______ / 100
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