For Neal Bhasin '23, J.T. Nichols '23, Dylan Ochoa '24, Logan Waibel '24, and Mr. Gaeta—the answer is "YES!"
While chatting during a free period this year, Dylan, Neal, and Mr. Gaeta began discussing medieval technology and weaponry, later prompting Mr. Gaeta to show Dylan and Logan a small model trebuchet and challenge them to build one themselves. This catapult-like machine was used in warfare to hurl large stones or other missiles.
The students' first take was a success, and after sharing the project with Neal, the trio began to discuss scaling up the project. Soon J.T. came on board, Mr. Gaeta agreed to supervise, and before they knew it, the plan to build a full, life-sized trebuchet was in the works.
For many weeks, the group planned and designed, researched materials, plotted dimensions, drew sketches, and made a 3D model before the actual hands-on construction began. At the building site, overseen by Mr. Gaeta, this ambitious group learned how to use power tools safely and cut nylon rope without fraying. They worked out the physics behind slinging an object and scaled-up model proportions using trigonometry and geometry. They also enjoyed a rare chance in the middle of a global pandemic to safely work as a team to troubleshoot and accomplish a common goal.
As of this article's writing, the team has finished their build and is now focusing on reengineering the release point to maximize the projectile distance. The current plan is to make a heavier counterweight, creating a more efficient payload sling and adjusting the launching pin. The ultimate goal is to launch a projectile, such as a melon, 100 yards. The group continues to hone their problem-solving skills until their goal is realized.
Sierra Canyon School is a private, independent, non-sectarian, co-educational, college preparatory school for students in grades Pre-Kindergarten through 12 located in Chatsworth, California. The highly cosmopolitan campus community is reflective of the Greater Los Angeles area and the world at large. Students are empowered to realize their greatest creative, ethical, intellectual and physical promise through small class sizes, a diverse student-teacher culture and a family-like environment.