Students launch items from trebuchets at last year's event at Lewis and Clark Community College.
GODFREY — More than 150 students from area high schools will compete in Lewis and Clark’s ninth annual trebuchet contest from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Friday, April 1, in the George C. Terry River Bend Arena. The event is free and open to public spectators.
Trebuchets were designed and used in medieval times as a military engine for hurling heavy objects, such as rocks weighing hundreds of pounds. The trebuchet typically consists of a pivoted wooden arm set in motion by the fall of weight, and works by using the energy of a raised counterweight to throw a projectile.
Teams of high school students will compete with trebuchets they have designed and built using their knowledge of physical science. Instead of rocks, they will hurl rubber balls. Each team works for months, planning, designing, building and testing their trebuchets.
Teams are judged on a report, which documents their efforts and results as well as the design and history of trebuchets; CAD drawings; and their performance in competition, measured in distance, accuracy and presentation of design.
The trebuchet contest strives to increase awareness and interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields among high school students.
“Students have fun during the entire process from designing and building the trebuchets to competing in the contest. All the while they are learning about science and technology through exploration and teamwork,” said Kevin Bodden, coordinator of engineering science at L&C. “The event fosters development of skills in measurement, report writing, critical thinking and time management — all vital for those pursuing careers in engineering and engineering technology.”