Science of Siege Engines

In the last few years I’ve seen this workshop arranged a couple of times by others in the local group but for various reasons it has never worked for us to attend.  However with a science topic of forces and a history topic of castles this half term we had to have a go.  I wasn’t sure we’d manage to get a big enough group with it having been done a few times recently but we did comfortably.

20150610_17The workshop was based in one of the Palmerston Forts built in Victorian times to defend Portsmouth from the French.  You can’t go anywhere locally without falling over these things.  Fort Nelson has been converted to a museum and houses some of the Royal Armouries guns and cannons collection.  For good measure it also has a breathtaking view over Portsmouth Harbour.



In the workshop itself the children were split into groups and they had an introduction to siege weapons and identified the various sites of push and pull on a catapult.  Then in their groups they designed and built their own catapult.

20150610_6Then they had some attempts at firing it.  Firstly investigating how tight they needed to twist it and secondly the effects of different sizes and shapes of items being fired.

20150610_9Then we got to go outside and fire the trebuchet.

20150610_10 20150610_11Sam was relieved to find it considerably smaller than the one at Warwick :).

We didn’t really stay and explore as I’m still battling the lurgy and I’d left my Dad and oldest child (inset day) hanging about waiting for us.  But here are 2 of the impressive guns.

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At home there was lots of TV – Story of the Castle and Merlin to carry on the theme.  Wallowing in the bath.  Plus building an insect trap in the back garden for the 30 Days Wild challenge.

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Today was the last proper trip I’ve arranged before the summer break this year.  I’ve had the common sense to realise that I don’t need the stress when we’re hayfevery and woefully lacking in sleep.  I’ve learned the hard way not to rely on getting Sam out of the door.

I’ve organised more trips than ever this year.  They’ve been stressful at times but that has always been because of issues with the organisers not home educators.  I’ve joked before about the ‘herding cats’ analogy but some how this year on all but 1 trip I’ve had everyone turn up or apologise beforehand and pretty much everyone on time.  I’ve not had one trip I’ve ended up out of pocket on, after a few blips at the start of the year not had problems collecting money.  Children and adults have behaved well on every trip.  Not one trip has left me thinking ‘never again’ or even ‘never taking them again’  (had quite a few of them over the years).  I’d like to think I’ve finally nailed it but think luck and a truly lovely, huge bunch of local home eders are the key.

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