Thursday, December 8, 2011

Ready, Set, Fling - Trebuchet and Catapult - TOS Review

Pitsco Education, Inc.
P.O. Box 1708
Pittsburg, KS 66762-1708 for information/catalog/ordering

geared to Middle School - High School

How many times have you told your children not to throw things in the house?  That has to be one of the most frustrating things with my little guy during winter.  You should have seen the expression on his face when his sister got to "fling" clay balls across the dining room and living room.  Actually, you can see it below.  This picture was followed by "Do it again, do it again!" and "Wow, cool!" (Pay no attention to the stuff behind them -- my kids always put their stuff away.) (wink, nudge, roll eyes)  One of the best parts of this whole process was that his sister was learning math and science at the same time.  Yes, it was another one of those moments where I'm glad I'm a member of the TOS Review Crew. 

So, what is that thing he's fascinated by in the picture?  It's a trebuchet, a medieval siege machine--a type of catapult.  It uses counterweights to provide the power to fling objects using weight, gravity and a lever.

As a member of the Crew I received a free Pitsco Trebuchet and Catapult Kit to use in order to provide this review.  The kit included: a Trebuchet Kit, a Catapult Kit, a Siege Machines book, weights and modeling clay.  The book contains assembly directions and experiments.  The materials used were laser-cut basswood, assorted hardware, fine string, clay and paper.  There was some assembly required, mostly cutting and gluing.  In addition, a minimal number of tools are required to complete assembly of the two machines.  (Pliers, ruler, scissors, glue, scale, tape, calculator, hobby knife, rubber bands and a number of other small items.)

Since my machinist husband is much more mechanically inclined than this mom he helped with this project.  (Please note, this is an educational kit--not a toy.  It is meant to be used as a learning tool with adult supervision.  That doesn't mean that it's boring though.  I'm pretty sure my husband enjoyed this as much as the children.) 

First dad and daughter constructed the model trebuchet and the model catapult.  Then they discussed science concepts such as elasticity, projectile motion and kinetic energy.  The also talked about speed, mass, force, altitude, velocity, math and design modifications.  Then the flinging began!  Finding the maximum throwing distance for the Trebuchet is what was happening in the picture above.
Pitsco is a new favorite at our house.  The pack that we received sells for $21.95, but other more detailed kits are available at other prices.  The more expensive package contains more in-depth teacher/curriculum guides with another 20+ hours of material.
Dad, mom, daughter and son all give these kits a thumbs up.  There's a lot of learning in the kits.  The price is very reasonable for the contents and quality.  My husband really liked working with the basswood.  Both my daughter and my husband thought the age range for this kit was appropriate.  We all agreed that the information discussed during the whole process was very educational.  All in all, this was "a hit" at our house.  I suspect it will be "Do it again!" time around here for a while.  Now we just need to get back to the history part of the Medieval period and seiges.  Maybe some fun costumes would help?  Ooh, sounds like a sewing project, more up this mom's alley.

To see what other TOS Review Crew members had to say click here

Disclaimer:  As a member of the TOS Homeschool Review Crew I received the above-mentioned products free in order to provide this honest review.  I did not and will not receive further compensation.  Thoughts, opinions, comments are my own.  I am not obligated to provide a positive review.

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