Technology of the Middle Ages Sparks Success for Deer Park


Robert Frost Middle School’s Catapult Team took second place at the annual Pumpkin Fling competition at Yaphank Farm, with an impressive pumpkin launch of 439 feet, 7 inches. 

The school’s Catapult Team was formed at the end of last school year after receiving a $1,500 grant, written by Science and Technology teacher Bruce Sanders, through Suffolk’s Edge Teachers Center. The competitive team, comprised of ten students, submitted essays on why they should be members of the team. Their essays included their completed research on Medieval Siege Machines.

Students worked together for months to build a Medieval-style catapult, otherwise known as a Trebuchet. In building the structure they learned construction methods such as measuring, cutting, drilling, and bolting, as well as engineering principles and the science of forces and motion. Weighing between 350-400 pounds, the Trebuchet measures 16 feet long, 4 feet wide and 8 feet tall, with a 13-foot throwing arm, and utilizes 6 commercial garage door springs for power and solid steel bars to support the springs and keep them from bending.
In traditional Deer Park spirit, community members and local businesses supported the students’ mission by providing everything from test pumpkins to discounted supplies and materials. Blue Skies Sign Company in Deer Park donated signs, American Garage Door in Deer Park donated the springs, and Modica Machine Tools was instrumental in helping obtain the correct steel and assorted parts necessary for successful construction.

To view the Falcon’s Claw in action at the Pumpkin Fling competition, please go to the following link.