As the main project for Module 4, the Catapult project was insightful that required collaboration and persistence among our peers. For this project, we were required to create and design a catapult that could shoot out a ping pong ball to a designated target. We were required to shoot from different angles, and to different distances. We had to create a catapult all by ourselves, and there was a final challenge to test out how successful the catapult was. After building the catapult, we used the information we held and created functions of the trajectory of the ping pong ball during the shot. The building of the catapult required creativity and design process, while the creating of functions required the calculation of mathematics. In the end, these two activities were linked together.
Through this project, I learned about how the variables are defined in the real world context, and how a precise graph is drawn and labeled. This project helped me learn how to produce a function (a parabola) from using the vertex, y-intercept, and the x-intercepts in a rather fun and interesting way. The most challenging aspect of this project was figuring out the different forms of the function with only a few information, and I had to use trial and error to figure out the right parabola. If I was the do this project again, one thing that I would do differently is that to look after our catapult carefully, since we lost ours after making it. Using other catapults made by previous 8th-grade students was efficient, but it wasn’t an original work for us. This project taught me how to trial and error to figure out functions in different forms when given limited information. I also understood how to interpret numbers in a function better. Generally, I enjoyed this project while I’ve learned a lot from it.