Thursday, December 8, 2011

If they build it, they will learn.

Pitsco is a company that offers hands on resources for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.  Their goal is “to create tools and curriculum that engages and inspires learners.” They feel it is more than just a business- it is a cause.

We received their Medieval Machines Pack $21.95


Included in the kit is a Trebuchet Kit, Catapult Kit, Mass Plates, and a Siege Machines Book.

What you will need in addition to this is some glue and some ammunition (clay). Pitsco sells both of those things.  


This is honestly more than meets the eye.  We had so much fun and it didn’t even feel like work.

  PitscoCatapult - Built

We built the Catapult first.  All things went fairly smoothly.  The instructions were clear, however we still managed to glue a few pieces on backwards.  It was easily fixed because I noticed it before the glue dried completely.  While building it was fun, and only took a few hours total (including drying time), the real fun began once it was built.  We set up a target on our wall and launched our clay.  It was a lot of fun.  We were able to discuss and see Newton’s Law of Motion in action.  Then we moved to the kitchen and were able to compare the distance vs. the size of the clay ball.  I have even seen them launching gummy bears into a bowl trying to perfect the aim. 

Pitsco TREBUCHET KIT - Built

The Trebuchet was next with more pieces it was a little more complicated for us, which really was a good thing.  It made it so we could see a different way of doing things.  This time I was much more careful watching the instructions for the kids this time, so no pieces were glued on backwards, plus there is less gluing for this one.  It was really neat to see the difference changing the weights on this one made.  Changing the weight of the ammunition made it interesting also.  Waiting for the glue to dry was the most difficult part of both of these builds. 

Let me tell you some of the things we learned while we were building these machines as a team (as in, brother and sister working together!!). 

We learned about

  • Science: Tension versus torsion, elasticity, gravity and levers, and force and motion
  • Math: Metric conversion, calculating averages, and prediction
  • Experiments: Mass versus distance, testing rubber bands, targeting, and more

Not only were we learning all these things, we all learned about the type of machines they used in Medieval times, and sometimes still today.

How were we learning all these things, you ask?  Well this pack comes with a great book which has so much information and experiments to complete using these machines. 


Pitsco offers more than just this pack. They have an Engineering Pack,  A Water Rocketry Pack, Straw Structures and more.

Do you see where I am going with this?  All these things sound like so much fun.  They are the types of curriculum where you can learn so much as well as use your imagination. 


To see what others though of this check out this post. To see a wide variety of reviews check out our crew blog.

As a member of The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew I review products like this, which I receive for free in order to be able to write my review.

Noted: I had amazing pictures of our builds and I had a sad camera misunderstanding and well, no more pictures, but the memories we made were great. 

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