Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Trebuchet Links – February 11, 2009

OK, I need a catchy title for posts where I just give links.  Leave a comment with a fun title.  If I choose yours, you get my undying gratitude and a shout-out on my not-so widely-read blog.  How can you pass up that offer?!

Today’s link topic is trebuchets.  If you’ve studied medieval history at all or even watched a History Channel special about medieval times, you’ve heard about trebuchets.  The are seige engines used to knock down the walls of castles.  Amazing, huh?  Wild Man is doing his science fair project on trebuchets, so I’ve done a good bit of research on the ‘net looking for great info.  I decided to be incredibly generous and share my results with you, my reading public.

NOVA Online – Secrets of Lost Empires – Medieval Siege

This site has info on this history of the trebuchet as well as a trebuchet game and a slide show documenting NOVAs building a working trebuchet.

GlobalSpec Trebuchet Challenge

This site allows you to virtually change different trebuchet settings and see what the results are.  Wild Man has had a blast playing on this site.  He’s learned several things that have helped him determine what experiments he wants to do with his trebuchet.  There are lots of things to learn from the trebuchet.  Have fun!

Trebuchet Store

This is where I ordered Wild Man’s trebuchet kit.  We could have ordered plans for Mr. Math Tutor and Wild Man to make from scratch, but we didn’t think that would be such a great idea.  What we got from the company was pieces of wood that had been routed with a CNC mill (according to Mr. Math Tutor) so that Mr. Math Tutor and Wild Man only had to cut the pieces apart using an exacto knife and scissors.  There were a few pieces to be glued, but most of the assembly is by using rubber bands so the configuration can be easily changed.  The kit also came with very nice instructions.

This site has plans and kits for a number of different trebuchets – some appropriate for your office desk, while others are better for science fair projects.  There are nice explanations about the physics of how the trebuchet works.

You can also do some reading about the history of trebuchets, along with catapults and onagers (you’ll have to go read to find out the differenced between these engines).

Experiments with trebuchets

I don’t find this site as helpful for us because he goes into more detail about building the trebuchet as well as the mathematical formulas to help understand the workings.  I imagine this would be better for a high school student than an elementary school student.

So, enjoy your study of the trebuchet.  It’s amazing how much physics, math, and woodworking my son has already learned just from building the trebuchet.  We will be doing the experiments after our vacation.  Pray for us!!

What other topics have you researched online? Anything you want to share??

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