15 Mar

trebuchet header


letter There are times to be subtle and there are times to be awesome. There are times to sit inside and play video games and there are times to get outside and howl at the moon. There are times to be careful and there are times to scare the neighbors just a little bit. For those of you who feel the need to inject a little “awesome” into your life, who think the neighbors have become a bit too complacent, who need to take a step or two closer to the edge, I have the prescription for you:


Build a trebuchet.



I have long been an advocate of getting power tools into the hands of children, and I make no secret of my love for augmenting the science curriculum at my kids’ elementary school. You might ask “How do you cap off a 2nd grade lesson on levers?” Simple. Construct a medieval siege engine/war machine, bring it on campus and fire projectiles at a couple dozen 8 year olds.


As cool as the science-factor is, the real benefit of a project like this is the time you get to spend with your kids. It’s about learning how to use power tools. It’s about countless trips to Home Depot (and the amazing hotdogs from the cart outside). It’s about researching and planning. It’s about learning from your failures and adjusting your strategy accordingly.


I will happily admit I’m not cool enough to engineer a trebuchet on my own, from scratch. But I am cool enough to go on the internet, find a well-made tutorial (which you are welcome to use yourself here) and adapt/modify it to meet my needs. Remember, the value here is not in having a functioning war machine in your garage (cool as that may be). The value is in FAILING along the way, and in learning from those failures. As you can see, we had to go back to the drawing board more than once on this little project.





You don’t have to have scientific super powers. You don’t have to be world-renowned in your field. You don’t even have to like other people’s kids. In whatever way possible, in whatever capacity you can, help out in your kid’s classroom. Kids spell “love” T.I.M.E. and there is nothing like the pride on your kid’s face when they see you there in front of all their peers. It’s like they’re saying without words “See? That’s my daddy and he’s the most awesome daddy in the universe.”



…of course it helps if you can bring a trebuchet to class with you.


-Dork Dad

10 Responses to “TREBUCHET!!”

  1. pensitivity101 March 15, 2016 at 1:39 pm #

    Brilliant! And even better, NO BATTERIES!

    • dorkdad March 15, 2016 at 1:41 pm #

      Well… except for the drill. (c:

  2. Charlotte March 15, 2016 at 1:44 pm #

    Eric’s wife family uses potatoes for the trajectory. Sam, what a great way to make learning fun…

    • dorkdad March 15, 2016 at 2:00 pm #

      My dad suggested we load up dog sh*t and aim it at the neighbors just to keep ’em in line.

      • kjysten March 17, 2016 at 2:34 pm #

        I want one. :>

      • dorkdad March 17, 2016 at 5:56 pm #

        I don’t think it’ll launch dog s**t all the way up to Ferndale.

  3. therealjerrydugan March 15, 2016 at 7:12 pm #

    Love it! My son plays high school baseball. I just asked him if we could build one so I could toss pop flies to him. He laughed.

  4. larva225 March 16, 2016 at 5:26 am #

    I wish you were my neighbor to help my kid with her first ever science project. I mean, I’m a geologist, but geez….

  5. Tales from the Dad Side March 24, 2016 at 2:12 pm #

    Just amazing.
    And you’re damn right, more power tools and building stuff… That’s it! This we hit the crazy constructions plans with gusto

    Thank you for sharing that.

  6. Krafty Fix July 3, 2016 at 12:47 pm #

    Awesome project, I could have only dreamed of doing this sort of thing at school. To those that might scorn at such a venture, well think about it, this covers every area of the curriculum, from Physics, to History, to Engineering and Design. Two thumbs up!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: