For Educators

Boomerang
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Learn About

force | motion

Materials Needed

1. Boomerang Pattern - Download the file below.
2. Pre-cut boomerangs - these need to be on heavy stock. Run the copies of the boomerang on card stock.
3. Glue each copy to another piece of card stock before cutting out.

Procedure

1. Gather children in a large open area such as a gymnasium or a playground.

2. Distribute the cardboard boomerangs. Have the children put their name on their boomerang, and then decorate it with the markers.

3. Assist the younger children if needed.

4. Allow children to freely experiment with the boomerangs. Can they make them fly? Can they get them to return?

5. Demonstrate how to hold the boomerang straight up by one blade, and flick forward and upward.

Experience

Now, explore! Encourage the children to practice until the boomerangs make a semicircle and return to the place from which they were thrown. Why does a boomerang fly in this path? What does shape have to do with it?

What's Going On

A boomerang is rather like a wing spinning through the air. According to the United State Boomerang Association, as the boomerang spins forward, more lift is generated at the top of the spin than at the bottom. If the boomerang were not spinning, more lift at the top would cause the boomerang to flip over. Why? Because of “gyroscopic precession”. Gyroscopic precession is a complicated concept, but you’ve seen it in action if you’ve ever seen anyone ride a bike without using his or her hands. Spinning things have a certain stability to them, and it is that stability from spinning that gives the boomerang its ability to return to the thrower.

Ohio Content Standards

Physical Science: K.4, K.5, 1.6
OSIC Codes: Y2002.CSC.S03.GKG-L02.BB.LKG.I04; Y2002.CSC.S03.GKG-L02.BB.LKG.I05; Y2002.CSC.S03.GKG-L02.BB.L01.I06
  • Added: November 29, 2011
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