Putting the Boom in Boomerang

Here's your nightly math! Just 5 quick minutes of number fun for kids and parents at home. Read a cool fun fact, followed by math riddles at different levels so everyone can jump in. Your kids will love you for it.

Putting the Boom in Boomerang

October 6, 2019

Usually when you throw something — a ball, a Frisbee, or the yucky part of your dinner — it flies away from you and falls to the ground. But a boomerang turns around and flies back at you! Why? It’s a curved stick with 2 slightly-different shaped sides. So the wind passes under one “wing” at a different speed from the other wing. This makes the boomerang fly on a tilt, which sends it in a big loop that (usually) comes back to you. The farthest-flying boomerang sailed 780 feet from the thrower — more than 1/10 of a mile! That saved his dog a long walk to fetch it.

Wee ones: Boomerangs are curved, not straight. Find 2 straight lines in your room, and 2 curved lines.

Little kids: If your 3rd boomerang throw comes back to you, then your 4th throw, then your 6th, what number throw didn’t come back?  Bonus: Which flies farther, a 100-foot boomerang throw or a 40-foot throw?

Big kids: The longest-flying boomerang flew 2 minutes 59 seconds. If it had stayed in the air 1 second longer, how much time would that have been?  Bonus: If your boomerang flies 38 feet out, your friend’s throw flies 60 feet, and your next throw flies halfway between those 2 distances, how far did your boomerang fly?




Wee ones: Straight items might include the edges of doors, windows, or the bed; curved lines might include edges of doorknobs, clocks, or squiggly lines on clothing.

Little kids: The 5th throw.  Bonus: The 100-foot throw.

Big kids: 3 minutes, since that’s the same as 2 minutes 60 seconds!  Bonus: 49 feet.

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About the Author

Laura Overdeck

Laura Overdeck

Laura Bilodeau Overdeck is founder and president of Bedtime Math Foundation. Her goal is to make math as playful for kids as it was for her when she was a child. Her mom had Laura baking before she could walk, and her dad had her using power tools at a very unsafe age, measuring lengths, widths and angles in the process. Armed with this early love of numbers, Laura went on to get a BA in astrophysics from Princeton University, and an MBA from the Wharton School of Business; she continues to star-gaze today. Laura’s other interests include her three lively children, chocolate, extreme vehicles, and Lego Mindstorms.

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