Indoor Paper Boomerang Lesson
Use a template and trace it onto tag board, heavy paper, or poster board. Fit as many as you can onto a sheet. Cut them out but not right up to the line.
Let the students color their boomerangs with markers and then have the tag board laminated. The lamination will add some weight, and stiffness (making the boomerang fly better) and will make the boomerang more durable. Let the students cut them out after you have laminated the boomerangs. Sometimes I will run the boomerangs through the laminator two times making them even stiffer with the two layers of lamination on them. Sometimes I will make them from two layers of tag board glued together for an extended range indoor boomerang.
Boomerangs will fly best if the wings have some dihedral or have a little positive angle of attack. I will show the students how to bend down the trailing edge of each wing. When we do these kinds of adjustments we say we are tuning the boomerang.
The illustration above shows bending down the trailing edge of each wing. This is not a fold, but rather a gentle bend in each wing. Show them how to hold the boomerang in front of them, so they are looking at the topside of the boomerang and bend the wing that is facing up. They can then rotate the boomerang and do the next wing. If the boomerang thrower is left-handed the illustration needs to be reversed to make a left hand boomerang. A left hand boomerang will fly in a clock-wise circle and a right hand boomerang will fly in a counter clock-wise circle.
I tell students to keep the boomerang safe and flat by storing it inside a large book when not in use.
The paper boomerang is made for throwing inside. It is too light to throw outside and will be blown off course by even the slightest wind. This boomerang is very safe to throw inside but I always tell my students make sure you have your parent’s permission to throw in your house. Throw your boomerang responsibly so you do not bother others.
Hold the paper boomerang with a pinch grip. You should be able to look over and see the topside of the boomerang.
Imparting spin to the departing boomerang is crucial. Cock the boomerang back in your hand. Your hand is in a position like you are going to knock on a door and the boomerang is cocked back along your arm.
Paper boomerangs are held almost completely vertical. Most boomerangs require only a little bit of layover (10-30°, between 12:00 and 1:00 for a right-hander facing a clock). Throwing a boomerang with too much layover will cause the boomerang to climb high before crashing back down.
I encourage my students to go home and try some other materials for boomerang making. A cereal box works very well for indoor boomerang construction. Some heavier cardboard such as the top of a pizza box can work for a short range outdoor boomerang if the tuning is done right.
Boomerang Terms to Teach Students
Australia is one-place boomerangs were made by ancient people. Australia is a country and a continent.
Aboriginal is a native person. The Australian Aboriginals are one group of people that invented boomerangs.
Kylie, Hunting Stick, Killer Stick, or Throwing Stick are curved flat sticks used for hunting. Killer sticks fly in a straight path.
A Boomerang is an offshoot of the hunting stick. It is used for playing games and they come back to the thrower.
Aerodynamics is the study of airflow and the forces associated with fluid dynamics.
A Wing is a part of an airplane, boomerang, or bird that provides lift.
Lift is a force that pushes or pulls up on a wing surface.
The Leading Edge is the front edge of a wing.
The Trailing Edge is the back edge of a wing
Dihedral Angle is a bend upward in a wing towards the tip of the wing. It can be seen in most airplanes, boomerangs and many kites.
Positive Angle of Attack is a bend upward in a wing toward the leading edge of the wing.
http://www.boomerang.org.au/articles/ A good glossary of boomerang terms.
Ankle Biters - small children
Aussie Salute - characteristic waving of the hand to chase away flies
Battler - someone who works hard to earn a living by honest means, one who struggles to make it by
Billabong - watering hole
Bush - wilderness, the Outback
Billy - tin can used to boil water over a campfire for tea or stew
Bloke - man
Boomerang - curved stick that will return when thrown, used for games not as a weapon
Corroboree - Aboriginal celebration, similar in meaning to Pow-Wow
Didgeridoo - instrument made from a hollow log
Dinkie-Die - the whole truth
Dinkum or Fair Dinkum - genuine, true
Dreamtime - A time of creation, sacred to Native Australians
G'Day - a greeting (good day)
Good On Ya – good for you
Jumbuck - sheep
Kylie, Hunting Stick, or Killer Stick - curved stick used for hunting, will not return to thrower
Lagerphone - percussion interment made with bottle caps
Mate - your buddy or friend
Matilda - belongings carried by a swagman, wrapped in a blanket
No Worries - that's okay
Outback - remote part of Australia away from town, Australian dessert
Sheila - woman
Swagman - hobo who carries his swag
Straight Away - right away, very soon
Tucker - food
Vegemite - yeast extract used as a spread on toast
Woomera - spear thrower
Yidaki - traditional name for a didgeridoo
In the Aboriginal worldview, every event leaves behind a vibration image in the earth, as plants leave an image of themselves as seeds. The shape of the land -- its mountains, rocks, riverbeds, and waterholes -- echo the events that brought that place into creation. Everything in the natural world is connected to the memory of its origin. The Aborigines call this the "Dreaming" of a place, and it helps explain the sacredness of the earth.
The book "Dreamkeepers: A Spirit Journey Into Aboriginal Australia" by Harvey Arden, gives more information on Aboriginal spiritual beliefs, from the view of an outside to the culture.
Aboriginal art serves both religious and social purposes. It is often associated with Dreaming stories and plays an important part in ceremony and ritual. Outside influences have traditionally been incorporated into indigenous artwork, and that is true today as modern tools, materials and ideas continue to transform the art process.
Links with Science Information