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Age Range: 11-14
Duration: 30-59 mins
  • D&T
  • Mathematics
  • Physics

Boomerang aerodynamics

Learning about how boomerangs work

In this lesson, students will discuss how the boomerang works from studying its design and the scientific principles of aerodynamics.

Studying how boomerangs work is a fun and tangible way for students to learn about aerodynamics. By understanding how a boomerang returns to its thrower, students will learn about the forces that govern flight, including lift, air resistance, and the effect of design modifications.

This is one of a set of resources developed to aid the teaching of the key stage three (KS3) secondary national curriculum. It has been designed to support the delivery of key topics within design and technology (DT) and science.

Activity: Learning about how boomerangs work

This fun activity begins with a discussion on how a boomerang is designed to return to its thrower. In this discussion, pupils will use a worksheet to guide their discussion, which invites them to think about how best to fly a boomerang and also ask “why does it come back to the thrower?”.

Students will also discuss potential effects of changing various design factors, such as the type of boomerang, the number of wings, the angle between wings, the angle of throw, the material used, and the width of the design.

Download our activity overview for a detailed lesson plan on teaching students about how boomerangs work.

The engineering context

The principles of aerodynamics are fundamental to many fields of engineering, from aerospace to automotive design. Engineers often face challenges that require a deep understanding of aerodynamic forces, such as designing more efficient airplanes or improving the performance of sporting equipment.

Suggested learning outcomes

Students will learn how aerodynamic forces affect the flight of objects. They will be able to relate the design features of the boomerang to its path and motion, applying their scientific and design understanding to an engineering context.

Download our activity sheet and other teaching resources

The activity sheet includes teachers’ notes, useful web links, and links (where appropriate) to the national curriculum in each of the four devolved nations; England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

All activity sheets and supporting resources are free to download, and all the documents are fully editable, so you can tailor them to your students’ and your schools’ needs.

Download our classroom lesson plan and presentation below.

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