Mini Trebuchet



The below covers making a basic trebuchet using basic tools and common household items. Try and get your projectile to land as far as possible whilst maintaining its precision - how close each data point is to the rest of the set.

Teacher's Notes

When conducted in a class, students should be given the freedom of deciding the location of the counterweight, its mass, and other variables that may affect the trebuchet's efficacy to encourage experimentation and creativity.

Duration: 1 hr(s)

Full Information Booklet :


1x Cardboard base

1x Long toothpick

1x Paper clip

1x AA Battery (Counterweight)

1x Rubber band

8x Popsicle sticks

1x Straw

1x Paper clip

1x Tape


1. Cut a popsicle stick in half, then align two others with it as such.

2. Tape together until sturdy. Repeat once.

3. Tape two popsicle sticks onto each of the feet of the structure.

4. Attach another popsicle stick as shown.

5. Cut a small piece of straw.

6. Use the rubber band to secure the straw piece onto a popsicle stick. Make sure it can move up and down the stick.

7. Tape the battery on as shown.

8. Extend one end of the paper clip and attach as shown.

9. Cut the sharp end off the toothpick.

10. Thread the popsicle stick through the straw and balance as shown.

11. This is the payload. Bend the piece of string in two and place it on a piece of tape.

12. Cut the end off the final popsicle stick and place as such. Tape accordingly to achieve the result shown in the next image.

13. Place the catapult onto the base, and tape it down to block it from rocking when operating. Bend the paper clip slightly upwards to hold the payload.

The catapult is now finished. Experiment with different positions of the pivot, different counterweights and payloads!

  • What distance from the counterweight to the pivot is optimal?

  • Do different countweights change launch distance?

  • What about different payloads?

  • Is there any other way to improve launch distance?