Summer is here and if you are the sort of teacher that hates the thought of going back to work in a few weeks, then why not ease you and your class in with a wee focus on frisbees? Here’s some reasons why…
1) This is a practical illustration of the aerodynamic principles: lift, thrust, weight and drag.
(NB I’ve yet to find a good one for children to watch, so advice appreciated on this). It can be useful to introduce these concepts to children before going out so they can explain what happens in terms of the forces at work.
2) Very often supermarkets have an end-of-summer sale where frisbees and other flying discs can be bought very cheaply. Alternatively ask your children to bring theirs into school. Don’t forget your own either!
3) If your school has a playing field then it will suit a Frisbee session. The basic requirements are: open level ground, plenty of space for your class, no overhead wires and away from roads (and airports). It’s a good idea to avoid really windy or stormy weather too.
And here’s some investigations to try… but ask your children for their ideas too as they may have better ones!
1) Try throwing the frisbee with each hand. Does this affect the direction of rotation, i.e. does the frisbee move clockwise or anti-clockwise depending on whether you use your left or right hand?
2) What tips can your class suggest to make a frisbee rise as it travels? How does this impact on the distance a frisbee can cover?
3) Is it possible to throw a frisbee in such a way that it comes back to you?
4) Can the children predict what will happen to the flight of a frisbee if it is thrown upside down?
5) What happens when weight is added to the frisbee? What material can be used to add weight? Does it make a difference where the weight is located (e.g. in the middle, at the edges)?
6) Does the type of flying disc affect the distance covered?
7) Get your class to design a flying disc golf course. Naturally it will need to be tested too…
8) Have a go at Ultimate – a wonderful team game played with flying discs
9) What is the best way to pimp a frisbee? I once knew someone who attached flashing lights so he could use it in the dark.
With all the science investigations, encourage the children to look at predicting what will happening and to find ways of designing a fair test. Reporting on the outcomes helps children articulate what they have learned. Above all, enjoy the opportunity to mix sport with science…