Groups are required to build two missile launchers. The missile launchers must be able to shoot a missile that will travel over a target, which will be placed 10m away. Groups are given about 30 minutes to plan and construct their launchers. After the time is up the group has a chance to test out their launchers, by being given two launching attempts. These test launches will be using golf balls, but after reexamining their designs, they will have to fire off their final launch with an egg.
- 20 x 2 meter bamboo canes,
- 10 x 1.2 meter bamboocanes,
- tracer cord,
- old rope (various lengths),
- 2 x golf balls,
- metre ruler
Space Required: Large. Outdoors only.
Group Size: 12 to 20 ideally.
Total Time: 60 minutes
- 5 minutes to brief and setup
- 10 minutes planning time
- 30 minutes to build
- 10 minutes to test
- 5 minutes to review and debrief
Running the Missile Launch Activity
- Set out a launch area using cones.
- Introduce the challenge: Your team has to design and build a target and two devices that can launch a missile. The devices are required to launch the missile over the target which will be set 10 metres away from the launch point. 30 minutes into the activity, you will be allowed to take two practice shots using a golf ball. The final shot will be made using an egg.
Rules of the Missile Launch
There are certain design requirements:
- Groups must use the first 10 minutes for planning purposes only, no building is allowed.
- Each missile launcher must be self-supporting.
- The launchers must be easy to move around.
- While firing, the launcher must not be fixed to the ground unnaturally. The firing device is the only thing that participants can apply pressure to.
- You may only use 10 canes for each launcher during construction.
Points are given to groups for performance, their design quality, team work as well as communication.
- 100 points for those who meet all the requirements and find the target
- 200 points for those who can shoot their missile over the target.
- 100 bonus points for those who shoot their missile the furthest away.
Safety when running the Missile Launch Activity
- Caution when handling the bamboo canes
- The leader must give their approval first, before launching a missile can commence.
Suggested Learning Outcomes
- Team work and cooperation
- Setting of goals and planning
- Thinking creatively
- Improving leadership skills
- Improved problem-solving skills
- Making use of time management
Facilitator and leaders Notes
Participants must try to discover what the main problem is when launching a missile. The problem is connected with manipulating the discharge of the missile. This specific problem will become obvious during a test round, if groups do not spend enough time planning their designs. If this is the case, allow the group 10 minutes to fix the problem and then continue.
Debriefing and Review
Here are some questions to ask in order for the group to process their experience of Missile Launch:
- What was the design process and was everyone involved?
- Was a leader chosen for the group?
- Were all members of the group given a task to perform and were you happy with yours?
- Think back on the challenge, is there anything you would do differently?
- Were you satisfied with the designs?
- Do you think the test launches were necessary?
- Did you need to do anything after the test shot, a design or change in plan?
- Did you learn anything from this experience?
Facilitators Briefing Script
Your team must design and build:
- Two devices that can launch a missile (golf ball/egg) over a target that is 10m away.
- Create a target that is at least 2m high and located 10m away from your launcher.
The designs must meet the following criteria:
- The first 10 minutes MUST be spent on planning – NO BUILDING.
- They must be freestanding (not requiring any support from any person or object).
- It must be portable.
- When being fired, it cannot be secured to the ground artificially. The only pressure applied must be to the firing mechanism.
- You may use a maximum of 10 canes for each construction.
- You may use other resources as you see fit.
- 30 minutes into the activity, you will be allowed to take two practice shots using a golf ball.
- The final shot will be made using an egg.
- Take care when handling bamboo canes.
- Missiles cannot be launched without permission from the group leader
You will be awarded points according to your performance:
- 100 points for a target that meets the criteria.
- 200 points for each device that successfully shoots over the target.
- A bonus of 100 points for the launcher that shoots the greatest distance.