A Boomerang Project

Different shapes of boomerangs
Subject Mechanics and thermodynamics
Level Lower and upper secondary
Language English
Type Projects, partner/team work, workshop, exercise

Learning objective
Physics: While analysing the physics of the boomerangs students deal with different disciplines of physics. Teacher and students determine the depth of physical background theory that they want to understand. The students learn about forms of the classical boomerangs, the efficient forces, the moments of rotation, and the corresponding distribution of the aerodynamical flow. The sub-topics of mechanics and thermodynamics will be mainly covered. Geography and English:In these two subjects the students will focus on the historical, economical, and cultural background of the life of the Australian aborigines. Art: Culture and art of the Aborigines are very mystic and interesting.
Didactical comments
During the manufacturing of their boomerangs the students have to work very carefully to sand the wooden surfaces, since the flight of the boomerang heavily depends on the smoothness of the boomerang areas. Naturally, students like to catch their boomerangs, but obviously here the teacher should decide if this is too dangerous (especially for very young children). A lot of fun is guaranteed when students use exotic boomerang forms and colourful designs. The students have to train a lot and are very proud of their results.
Suggestions for methodology
This topic can be taught inter disciplinary, or as a single subject in a physics course and is especially well-suited for a project week. A group of about 20 students can work on this project. To prepare and to carry through a boomerang contest between students ensures a lot of fun. An exhibition of nicely designed boomerangs is a must for all students, parents and teachers. Very often the best boomerangs are never thrown, but real nice exhibition objects.
Contact details
NameDr. Britta Creutzburg
Last update: 18 June 2007

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