Physics KS3/GCSE: Why do boomerangs come back?

Greg Foot finds out why boomerangs return to the thrower.

He explains that the shape of the boomerang is like a plane’s wing that generates lift, and that the spinning boomerang acts as a gyroscope.

Greg then explains how gyroscopes work and demonstrates the gyroscopic procession that results in a ‘hands-free’ bicycle turning and a correctly thrown boomerang moving in a curve to return to the person who threw it.

Teacher Notes

Students could investigate why an aerofoil generates lift and perform simple classroom experiments such as blowing over the top of a sheet of paper, when held hanging by two of the sheets corners to form an aerofoil shape.

Curriculum Notes

These short films will be relevant for teaching physics and chemistry at both KS3 and KS4 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and National 4/5 in Scotland.

More from the Secrets of Everything:

Can you make a star on Earth?
video
How big is one giant leap on the Moon?
video
How can you survive a lightning strike?
video
If the whole world jumped at the same time would the planet move?
video
Could I survive an asteroid strike?
video
Why is the sky blue?
video
Why can't I run fast?
video
Why is fire hot?
video
Can I escape from quicksand?
video