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Fun with Flying Monkeys


In my house, if it can be launched through the air, it probably will be. I'm constantly listening for the sound of a crash because once it's discovered that "x" can be propelled through the air, it will be launched over and over and over again... until something (or someone) gets hit. Just last night, it was discovered that a "koosh" ball from the dredges of the toy bins has a loop inside that can be used like a sling shot. Back and forth through the air and across the room and up and down the hall the little spikey ball went.

Are you that way? Do you love throwing things through the air and seeing if you can get just the right angle, just the right amount of pullback, just the right release motion to send something flying farther than it has before?

If so, you won't want to miss the new Make Monkeys Fly in the Blink of an Eye aerodynamics project (Difficulty: 3-4). In this science project, you can explore the science at work with each launch of the monkey.

When you pull back the rubber band mechanism, you create potential energy which is stored in the stretched band until the moment you let go. When you let go, the energy changes to kinetic energy, and the monkey flies. How far will it fly? Manufacturers say "flingshots" can travel around 50 feet. Can you reach that? What you'll explore in this project is how you can maximize your flight—using science.

Not feeling the monkey love? There are a range of screaming, flying animals out there. Frogs. Chickens. Pigs. Cows. Ducks. With a bit of searching, you can probably find the right animal for you.

This project can be fun, but you'll also learn a lot about energy and motion!

(Science Buddies' aerodynamics and hydrodynamics project ideas are sponsored by a grant from the Northrop Grumman Foundation.)

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