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Are you ready to put your best foot forward? It’s a good thing you’re at the Wonder Stadium, then!

Playing sports goes way back in human history, and for good reason. Playing sports not only benefits physical health, but also helps build confidence, teamwork and discipline in players.

Here, we're WONDERing about all our favorite sports, from tennis to basketball and soccer to football! So, keep your eyes on the ball and take your best shot here at the Wonder Stadium!

Maker Activity

10

Shoot Some Hoops!
Want to dribble and sink a couple free-throws, but don't have access to a court? Take a shot when you build your own basketball catapult!

Hands on!

  • Craft sticks
  • Ruler
  • Small 3 oz. paper bath cup
  • Scissors
  • Duct tape or hot glue gun (Be sure to let an adult handle the hot glue gun!)
  • Tape or rubber bands
  • Craft pipe cleaner
  • Table tennis balls or large marshmallows
  • Bendable straws
  • Poster or foam board
  • Coins
  • Clothespin
  • Sponge

Stack 8 craft sticks neatly. Secure a rubber band tightly near one end of the stack and repeat on the opposite end of the stack. While holding the stack of 8, pull the top 2 slightly away from the stack and insert one craft stick through the opening so that it looks like a cross. Turn this over, align another craft stick with the inserted stick on top of the rubber-banded stack. Secure a rubber band to these two sticks loosely near one end. (You may only need to wrap the rubber band about 3-4 times.) Push the 8-stick stack towards the rubber-banded area of the other two sticks and make sure these two sticks are in the center of the 8-stick stack. Finally, cut the bottom off of a small paper cup and glue or tape it to the free end of the stick that is not inserted into the 8-stick stack. This will be your catapult.

Holding two bendable straws upright, slightly fold the tip of one straw and insert it into the tip of the other straw. Bend the straws to make the shape of a rectangle with one open end. Cut several strips of tape and set aside. Make 3 half-inch cuts to the ends of the two straws and tape the frayed parts towards the center-end of the poster or foam board. This will be the base of the goal post. Create a circle with a pipe cleaner and tape or hot glue it to the top-center part of the goal post straw structure. Be sure to make the circle wider than the “balls" you'll shoot.

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You're now ready to shoot some hoops! Position your catapult on or behind the poster or foam board, aimed towards the hoop. Place a table tennis ball, marshmallow, or coin on the lid of the catapult. With one hand holding the bottom craft stick in place, press the craft stick downward and then release to send the ball flying towards the hoop!

Wonderuptions:
Which object works best as a basketball? Are baskets easier to make closer or farther from the hoop? How can you adjust the sponge on the catapult to make the hoops easier?

Why does that happen?

Launching an object using a catapult gives it projectile motion, which is a vertical motion and horizontal motion at the same time. After launching, the force of gravity pulls the object back down to the ground, but the horizontal speed of the object is constant, making the object take a curved path to the hoop.

Still Wondering?
Use the following method to create an alternative catapult: Glue, tape, or rubber band the clothespin to one end of a craft stick. Cut a 0.5" x 2" section of the sponge and glue or tape it to the clothespin pincher that is not attached to the craft stick. Turn the object over and glue half of the sponge to the middle-third portion of another craft stick. Finally, cut the bottom off of a small paper cup and glue or tape it to the free end of this craft stick.

If you're having trouble making baskets, create a football goal post instead of a basketball hoop! Using straws and tape, form the letter “H" and secure it to the poster board. Have fun making some field goals!

Sources:

Preschool - Age 8

Ages 9 - 13

Ages 14 - 17

Ages 18 and up


These reading lists were provided by Louisville Free Public Library, Okolona Branch in Louisville, KY.