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Center for Mathematics and Science Education
The University of Mississippi


The Division of Outreach, the School of Engineering, and the CMSE at the University of Mississippi invite Mississippi students and teachers to participate in an exciting science and engineering event!

Details: The 2024 Annual Catapult Competition will be held at the University of Mississippi!

Teams will compete in Design, Bowling, Skeeball, Siege the Castle, and Art & Aesthetic.

The Spring 2024 Catapult Competition will be on April 4, 2024. 

The following information is for reference and includes details of the 2024 competition. 

Frequently Asked Questions

No. Students are designing and building Catapults. A pulley system would be used by a Trebuchet.

Yes, ball bearing are allowed for the competition.

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

The maximum height from the ground cannot exceed five feet while the throwing arm is in its rest vertical positions.

Just to clarity, the catapult will be measured in “rest” position with the surgical bands relaxed. Generally speaking, the 5 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.

This requirement means that the machine will have one end of the surgical tubing connected to the throwing arm and the other end of the surgical tubing connected to the frame – this will provide the rotation.

As long as they are stretched linearly, it is within the rules.


Exercise bands are acceptable as they are probably more accessible to many than surgical tubing. We are 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, we could not in (good conscience) limit your ability to be creative.

We don’t necessarily count against teams for cost, but it is a consideration for designs that are close during judging.

It may be a good idea to separate out the form and function costs. For example – make a value assessment of the catapult with and without the extra cosmetic parts, meaning one assessment with the fancy paints and props and a separate assessment that is the actual catapult (everything the catapult needs to fully function).