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LA News Archive The Schoolhouse

Blast from the Past
Posted 05/23/2016 12:00PM

by Allie Goodrich ‘13

Groton, MA – Coach Ryan’s varsity softball team isn’t the only machine on the Route 40 fields this spring; seniors Aidan Schlotman and Jack Templeton’s trebuchet – a physics experiment built for Ms. Greene’s class – can throw softballs pretty well, too.

On Monday morning, May 23, as their fellow physics (and Mr. Moore’s Spanish) students looked on, Schlotman and Templeton set their creation in motion, flinging softballs down the field to the delight of their classmates.

Asked the difference between a trebuchet and a traditional catapult, Schlotman explained, “The trebuchet is kind of more free weights…you can add so much stuff to them and they can launch a lot farther because you can add much more weight to it.

“Catapults are more designed to have a set amount.”

A more dynamic version of the catapult, the trebuchet proved to be easier to build and harder to tune. Schlotman and Templeton spent two to three days constructing their machine, but as Templeton later attested, “It takes forever to tune it.” 

However, Schlotman and Templeton were quick to point out that their design could be only in its beginning stages. 

“There’s still a lot more we could do with it for sure,” said Schlotman.  “There’s different types of trebuchets; they all do the same job, but you know, [they do] the job slightly different. There’s still a lot of tuning we could do to make it go much further.” 

So look out (or look up) LA community; it may not be too long before this student-built trebuchet moves on from flinging softballs to watermelons, graduating – like its creators – to new heights. 


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