On November 3, Riverside’s woodworking class launched their first class project of the year. After the class was split into groups, they were asked to design each their own Medieval Trebuchet catapult for a competition. The winner would be the group that launched the object the farthest.

Students were to design a Trebuchet, which is a Medieval catapult that is heavily dependent on centripetal force and mass. Pivoting on a hinge, it drops a bigger weight to throw a smaller item. The counter weight and the pivot point are an essential piece to the design because in order for the item to be thrown to launch, there has to be enough force.

The woodworking class of 17 students was split into seven groups to work on their catapults. A total of three weeks was spent preparing and planning for competition day. “In the time my group had to prepare, we researched designs and learned from other people’s past experiences, and got to see what worked, and what didn’t work,” said April Kornitsky, a grade 11 student who has been in Riverside’s woodworking class since grade nine. Mrs. Marissa Majchrzak, who is the new woodworking teacher, set constraints on the design of the catapult. The base had to be within three feet by three feet, and the height of the machine could be three feet tall, but the arm of could extend out horizontally as far as necessary. Students were to use cardboard for building, with add-ons of materials like string and tape.

Gestoni Lumingin launching his catapult.

Each group had a chance to fire their Trebuchet three times during the competition, and in between shots, students had time to make adjustments they need. The winners were a group of two, grade 12 Gestoni Lumingin, and grade 10 Logan Rusnak, with a distance of 494 inches.

A big part of the woodworking room is the machines, which includes band saws, table saws, drill press, scroll saws, laves, sanders, chop saws, and more. It is important for the class to go over the importance of safety precautions, which is then finalized with a safety test. After the test, students have an opportunity to build their ideas into something real by using the tools and machines in class. “I love woodworking because of the freedom we have in class to create our ideas into physical form,” said Owen Deo, a grade 10 student. Among creativeness, students can make purposeful items that are very useful, “I made a ton of pens last year on the lave, and I get a ton of use out of them,” said Kornitsky.