Over the last several weeks before spring break, our integrated unit on projectiles came together [see this post for original description]. The week right before break, we displayed in our classrooms and throughout our academy student work relating to the unit. From flyers advertising effective ballistic weapons, to flyers advertising services that help people recover from war, to discussions about groupthink, to posters about the biological effects of bombs, to actual catapults constructed by the students.
On March 31st, we had the big culminating event of the integrated unit: a game / competition of Catapult Battleship, where students from three classes (Principles of Engineering and Foundations of Technology) squared off in battle across four “oceans”. The day before, we marked off sections of the tiled hallway with tape, naming each after an ocean (Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, and Arctic). We issued passes to students to come down to the competition at 9:00am the next day. We made sure teachers, resource officers, and academy principals knew we were taking over the hallway. And we made sure we had judges and assistants trained in the rules (the teachers of each of the three classes, a school resource officer, and a few senior and junior students not competing). Rules are described in this earlier post, and are listed in full detail in this document at Scribd.
On the day of the event, four teams of students competed in each ocean, until one by one each ship was “sunk” by two direct artillery hits (two direct hits anywhere on the ship by a catapult-launched ping-pong ball). Each team took turns, with certain rules of movement on each turn. Finally, the victors from each ocean gathered in the Arctic Ocean for a championship single-elimination round, until one team had survived the longest and sunk all opponents.
It was a great event! Students enjoyed the competition, and we all enjoyed commandeering the hallway. About fifty students were involved directly in the competition, from all five of our school’s academies. Plus, some teachers (including me) brought our classes down to watch. And, although they shouldn’t have been there, we also likely picked up a few spectators who were wandering the halls. All in all, probably ninety people experienced the epic Battle of the Four Oceans.