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An Educational Experience – A Lesson For A Grandfather And Grandson
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An Educational Experience – A Lesson for A Grandfather And Grandson

The simple Boomerang, or is it so simple.

An article I read of a mother tasked with sharing a project of making a boomerang with her son made me think this a good project to share with a six-year old Grandson. I have an interest in anything that flies from birds to planes from kites to parachutes, and a special affiliation to micro-lights.

Before involving my grandson I decided to design my boomerang on paper, buy a relevant piece of wood and cut out the basic shape. My mind fascinated by the theory of lift, air flowing over an unevenly shaped body, creating airflow to travel more on the one side than the other creating lift. Simple enough, or so it seemed till I tried to figure out how to apply this principle to the shape on the wood. I did not want to create work for either of us by throwing and then having to fetch the object. If this was the case why build a boomerang, rather pick up a stone, throw it and have the grandson fetch it.

No this was a project, a lesson for him, to teach him the basics of flight, aerodynamics, and the theory behind why it comes back. The wing shape on the leading edge of the rotating boomerang, not a problem, I could imagine this, but if my son-in-law was to throw it disaster, he's left-handed, this must mean you get a version for him. The lift now covered, what makes it come back? Was I looking for more in this project than what I should? Time to call on the Internet, research would make sure I appeared conversant on the subject when I got my grandson involved.

So many shapes, so many designs, I had got the aerodynamics correct as well as the left hand scenario, it seemed though that the return was in the toss. Yet my mind tells me there is more to it than that. The fact that some built and designed to act as weapons, spin ratios and bounce, throwing techniques to follow all expounded on the differing sites. Was I any better off to deliver a lesson? No, in fact more confused than before, discovering that these appeared ten thousand odd years ago. How had the discoverers of the object, ascertained the science behind carving a piece of wood that would fly and act as a weapon, yet if the target missed return to the thrower?

The research certainly never aided me to a place where I could educate a grandson, neither did it aid me with the shape required to make sure this stick of undetermined design, would, when thrown by the uneducated, return. Now as my ego and commitment to seem intelligent to a grandson that already looked up to me, might just be in danger of retrogression, I decided that maybe, this was not such an intelligent project to undertake. Yet my fascination with it drives me on. A lot more research and investigation required before this shared with the developing mind of a six-year old.

My admiration of the discoverers and developers of this simple, yet complex piece of wood, beyond reproach, yet my ego needs help from those who know how. Is there anyone out there with some knowledge or experience in the finer art of boomerang construction that can help?


Street Talk

C4rmen  

The Aborigines certainly knew a thing or two. I marvel at the didgeridoo - now thats a project for you! The sounds that come out of that can be spine tingling.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

Thank you I might just have a bit more success with that one, have you read the resulting article?

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

Some day i am going to try out a boomerang. thanks Rob, for an interesting article.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

Shawn I think my problem is I might have over thought the project in the beginning, I still intend to make one and hope I don't decapitate some passerby.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

I will keep my eye out for the outcome Rob.

  
  about 1 decade ago

Rob, Ten thousand years ago? That's interesting. I wonder how they started out. I mean, learning that it would return to you is a pretty amazing thing to run into -- and repeat. blessings, Cynthia

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

Cynthia can you imagine the first one. The bloke picks up a stick and throws it at a bird say, and wow it comes back, now he must figure out the aerodynamics or what ever was special about that stick and copy it. And we think we're clever.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

True! That's how and why I wondered.

  
  about 1 decade ago
AJ  

The internet is a wonderful place full of information. Too much information at times. You got sucked into the "information age" and ended up just as confused as I with some of this gardening stuff! I'd take an Aussie's advice - buy one.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

Yes AJ buy one, that was my thought as well, till I found out to get the damn thing to return to you. you must first throw it correctly. Decided to toss the idea, he probably knows more about it than me in any case.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago
joe witt  

Excellent Rob I am constantly amazed at the things ancient peoples figured out for the first time from boomerangs to mathematics and many more complex topics. Pretty cool to think about how inventive and curious so many people and cultures are.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

Thanks Joe yes it is amazing, how long did it take man, to reinvent flight something based on a boomerang?

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

Fascinating subject, Rob. I've learned something about boomerangs. It's awesome to ponder that these things were in the world so long ago.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

That was my surprise. To think someone at sometime picked up a stick and threw it, it missed and came back!!! What a discovery.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

We had two boomerangs when I was growing up. One, plain and unattractive, did come back if thrown the right way usually by an adult with some good power behind it. The other one was decorative and beautiful but never once did we see it return. Makes me sad for all the tourists who proudly buy a boomerang to take home and experiment with. It would be like buying a car with no engine! Can a mere layman make a boomerang successfully? Probably... but with a little help I could probably make a violin (in fact with tutelage my brother in law did) but will it fly like a bird and return? Would my violin be a Stradivarious in tone? I think I'd personally find someone with these long lost skills and buy one! ;-)

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

Heather the Australian, and here I'm expecting the words of wisdom of how to adjust the dihedral to gain maximum return to the hand, and all you give me is buy one! Your probably right, I have looked at so many different sites without much help, and with my luck I'll finish the project, proceed to the park and with the first throw cleave the head open of some poor passer by, requiring the calling of an ambulance and costing me a day in court accused of assault which will also cost me, and in the mean time I'll loose the grandson as he will take off after a wild flying boomerang that will continue in flight a further 200m into the bush surrounding the park and get lost. I think in retrospect I will cancel this project and wait for him to get older and see if I can teach him how to chase girls, much safer.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

Hmmm.... that's debatable! There are cheap plastic flying things at the toy store that are much less work, much better designed and also require kids to run and fetch a lot. They usually only require a bandaid when they hit you in the head (unless it takes out an eye) so it's a lot safer in inexperienced hands such as your own. You could consider that?!

  
  about 1 decade ago

I think if I sit long enough in a chair this feeling, this need to educate, will soon or later pass.

  
  about 1 decade ago

Feeling? What feeling?

  
  about 1 decade ago

The feeling to educate and work, too much. Do you realise that making a boomerang takes effort.

  
  about 1 decade ago

;-) Yes, I understand that. I was acknowledging that the feeling had likely already passed! lol. Education is no fun when it's hard work!

  
  about 1 decade ago

Christopher may be on to something. I'm pretty handy with computers but my grandson puts me to shame. Maybe your grandson has some knowledge about boomerangs. The question is how to find out without letting on you are looking for info.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

Yes I agree with Chris as well, ask the Grandson, chances are he knows more than me and teaches me than the other way round.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

LOL...Reminds me of the old song. "My Boomerang Want Come Back." Sorry Rob...no help here...If something isn't tied onto my line it ain't coming back....It is amazing how it was it construction was accomplished hundreds of years ago..

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

Thanks Kevin, I like that one "if it ain't tied to your line....." that could develop into a song.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

I once had a similar situation. But I was trying something online. While debating who to ask, it occurred to me to ask my six-year-old. He taught me! And it turned out that the frequent calls for him from his little friends had been of the "video-game help-desk" variety. From then on, whenever someone asked me about computers (because I had, at one time, been a computer-hardware/software expert) I referred them to my son. When people would call about computer issues, I would often ask "Have you checked with your kids?" and you'd be amazed how often that was the solution. Maybe your grandson can give you a hand.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

Why did I not think of that? I would certainly look a fool if I told him the intention and he already knew the how. Thanks Chris might just have saved face.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago
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