High school students at Conestoga Christian School assembled on the school soccer field for a Historical Trebuchet Exhibition conducted by students in the World History and Honors World History classes. Under the direction of Social Studies teacher Don Boyer, eight groups of CCS students tested and demonstrated the trebuchets they had constructed as part of a class project.
In a cross-disciplinary activity, students used knowledge of physics, drawing and culture to recreate this medieval weapon. A part of their study of ancient China, students visited the computer lab to research this ancient apparatus. Groups received instruction from Technology Education teacher Larry Everhart in orthographic or three-view mechanical drawings and the mechanical considerations of counterweights and levers.
Students set out to build model or full-scale trebuchets with cross arms no longer than six feet across. Required to document each step of the process, these juniors and seniors also incorporated video, film and scrapbooking techniques to chronicle their building projects.ˆ ˆ ˆ ˆ ˆ ˆ
The exhibition featured competitions in distance, weight and accuracy. Not limited to medieval tools or materials, student groups also scored additional points for workmanship and innovation.
Boyer reported that the mechanical tasks in the assignment were particularly captivating and it was rewarding for him to find the girls performing some nontraditional tasks. "It is this kind of hands-on-history that we are able to do at a place like CCS," he said.
The trebuchet is one of a number of counterweighted weapons included in the activity of hurling and was originally designed to smash masonry walls. While similar to a catapult, the trebuchet was also used to launch projectiles over and through fortifications with greater speed and accuracy than a catapult. In times of plague, trebuchets were also used to remove carcasses of diseased animals and humans from confined living areas and thus limit the spread of disease.