We were very excited to review the items that we received from Pitsco. They sent us a Trebuchet and a Catapult and we've been having some "floor wars" and having fun learning about force and motion while we are at it. So much fun, we love hands on projects and this is one of my kids favorites of the year, so far. The machines come in a balsa wood pop out kit with great instructions. We easily put it together with only 1 slight mishap.
In case you don't know here's the definition of a trebuchet according to Wikipedia.
A trebuchet[nb 1] (French trébuchet) is a siege engine that was employed in the Middle Ages. It is sometimes called a "counterweight trebuchet" or "counterpoise trebuchet" in order to distinguish it from an earlier weapon that has come to be called the "traction trebuchet", the original version with pulling men instead of a counterweight. The counterweight trebuchet appeared in both Christian and Muslim lands around the Mediterranean in the twelfth century. It could fling projectiles of up to three hundred and fifty pounds (140 kg) at high speeds into enemy fortifications.
I'm sure almost everyone is familiar with a catapult but here's the definition just in case.
A catapult is a device used to throw or hurl a projectile a great distance without the aid of explosive devices—particularly various types of ancient and medieval siege engines. Although the catapult has been used since ancient times, it has proven to be one of the most effective mechanisms during warfare. The word 'catapult' comes from the Latin 'catapulta', which in turn comes from the Greek καταπέλτης (katapeltēs), itself from (kata), "downwards"+ πάλλω (pallō), "to toss, to hurl". Catapults were invented by the ancient Greeks.
We are learning about Rome and Greece this year so both of these worked well with our curriculum and I've actually seen a couple of Roman soldiers sailing through the air.
You can purchase the Siege Machines kit, which includes a Trebuchet Kit, Catapult Kit, Mass Plates, and the Siege Machines book. The price is $21.95 and to purchase it click here.
This is recommended for intermediate to middle school aged children. All we used were some needle nosed pliers, glue, and scissors everything else came in the kit. We have been launching clay(which is the only thing Pitsco recommends), lego figures, Roman soldier figures and anything else my kids can find that is light enough. I'm sure this will be used for years and years in the future. Pitsco offers a bunch of fun educational tools and has been around for 40 years! I forwarded the website to family members that were asking what my kids want for Christmas and told them anything from this site would be an AWESOME gift!