Center for Mathematics and Science Education

The University of Mississippi


The Center for Mathematics and Science Education and the Division of Outreach at the University of Mississippi hosts the Catapult Competition.

Event Details

Fourteenth Annual Catapult Competition
The University of Mississippi
Tad Smith Coliseum
April 2020
8:00 AM – 3:00 PM

The morning begins with registration, followed by a demonstration of the student designs. At this time, catapults will go through a rigorous safety check to ensure they were constructed within the rules and specifications of the competition. Each team of students designing and constructing a surgical tube catapult that meets the specified criteria will be given the opportunity to launch tennis balls in different competition categories. Faculty members, staff and students from the University of Mississippi School of Engineering, the Center for Mathematics and Science Education and Division of Outreach will manage the competition.

  • Teams will compete in Design, Pop-A-Shot, Humpty Dumpty, Siege the Castle, and Art & Aesthetic
  • Awards will be given in each category
  • An Overall Winner will be determined from the total of the individual event scores

Registration Details

Registration forms with a list of students participating and t-shirt sizes must be submitted by March 28, 2019.

There is a $75 per team registration fee.

Registration deadline is March 28, 2019.

Additional Information

Frequently Asked Questions

I am all for innovation and challenging the process, so I want to say yes, but if you have any questions send me an email and we can provide clarification that will hopefully give some guidance. Safety is key, though. 

The catapult will be measured in “rest” position with the surgical bands relaxed. I would say the 3 feet restriction is the maximum possible height the catapult measure. For example, if you are using a stop bar to control the launch angle, it would be the maximum angle, the catapult at rest, and measured to the top of the launch cup.

There are no specific restrictions other than it being an elastomeric tubing with a maximum length of 6ft. This is a key “engineering” decision for the teams. Workout bands are acceptable since they are tubular in shape.

Exercise bands are acceptable as they are probably more accessible to many than finding surgical tubing. Specifically looking for tubular elastomeric materials for the potential energy, not necessarily latex or surgical.

Absolutely, any commercially available off the shelf parts should be. We are more concerned with it meeting the safety requirements than necessarily what parts you choose. As an engineer I could not in good conscience limit your ability to be creative.

This is one of the key additions to this years catapult design specs. You cannot stand directly next to your catapult and need to be able to release the catapult from 36 inches “from the plane of action”. This is the plane that launch arm rotates in, so basically you need to be able to release standing 36″ from the side of launch arm. Footholds (less than 2ft from the side of your catapult) can be added from the main body of the catapult and will not count against the maximum 36″ requirement.

Yes, ball bearing are allowed for the competition.

For additional information, please contact Tiffany Gray,