Mechanical Basketball

The ultimate objective of mechanical basketball, like most team sports, is to outscore your opponent. A round of mechanical basketball consists of a 30 second warm-up followed by 2 minutes in which two team members try to score as many points as possible using 2 marshmallows. Each team member uses a device that they have designed and constructed to throw the marshmallow through the basket, an act known as shooting. Different points are awarded based on where the marshmallow is when it is released. Here is a breakdown of scoring:


To meet the requirements of this challenge you must follow the steps in the design process.

  1. Define the Problem

  2. Generate Concepts

  3. Develop a Solution

  4. Construct and Test a Prototype

  5. Evaluate the Solution

  6. Present Solution


This is a design and construction activity for teams of two students. Each team will design and construct two devices. The marshmallow may not be propelled by a launcher that is separate from the device. The energy source (rubber band) must be attached to the device. Four (4) rubber bands provided by the teacher are the only energy source to be used.

Each device may be constructed from any appropriate material in the technology laboratory and any materials brought from home that are not judged by the teacher to be inappropriate or unsafe. It must be small enough to fit inside the student's assigned locker when fully assembled.

The Court is marked with a 24" wide key, a foul shot line 30" from the backboard, and 3 point line about 48" from the center of the rim. The backboard is 12" wide and 7" high. The rim is about 14" high and has a diameter of about 4". [Scale is about 2" to 1ft.]


Performance Demonstration (20 points)

Both team members will put their MBP on the court and each team member will be given a marshmallow. The team will be given a 30 second warm-up to adjust the position of their MBP. The team will then have 2 minutes to score as many points as possible. Team members may rebound for each other and may work together to maximize the number and accuracy of shots. The team must recover all errant marshmallows without help from other students or spectators.

Product — Mechanical Basketball Player (10 Points)

Product — Engineer's Notebook (10 Points)

You should have an entry for each day. Make sure your notes include:

Check that your notebook follows the guidelines

Product — Informational Report or Design Portfolio (10 points)

See separate rubric

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Last Updated 23 October 2012