catapultA catapult <<KAT uh puhlt>> was a war machine. It was used for shooting objects at an enemy. Warriors began using catapults in ancient times. They were later used during the Middle Ages (A.D. 400’s-1500) to attack walled cities and castles.

Catapults worked like giant slingshots. During battle, soldiers loaded large stones or other objects onto the catapult. Then they released a twisted rope which would cause a beam to spring forward. This caused the stones or other objects to be hurled through the air with great force. Burning materials, gunpowder, and dynamite were shot from catapults, too.

The first catapults were built by the Greeks in the 300’s B.C. Today, catapults are used to launch airplanes from the decks of large ships called aircraft carriers.


Check out this Lego catapult:

Catapult. (2015). In World Book Kids. Retrieved from