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Bird Ballistics (Outdoor Lesson)

This outdoor lesson is based on the well-know computer game ‘Angry birds’. Great for supporting maths and design and technology, it involves making a catapult from which to launch the ‘birds’, and then focusing on what adjustments are needed to hit a target. This activity can be easily adapted to make it more and less challenging.

  • Create a catapult with which to propel the birds. Use a large, sturdy branch with a V or U shape towards the top or construct something similar. You could test out a few different elastics to find the one that works best.
  • Make your ‘birds’ by filling each balloon with the same amount of water.
  • Start with a few trial runs. Getting the angle of release is vital in order to aim the birds – too low an angle and the birds do not fly very far, too high an angle and they will travel up into the air but then drop straight down. The most effective angle for long shots is 45 degrees.
  • Measure how far each bird has travelled before landing. Each should end up in roughly the same place. Ask the children to guess where the birds will land if you: • alter the angle of release • alter how far back you pull the catapult • alter the size of the birds.

Numeracy , Design
Maths - Angles / estimating
Full lesson
Yr 5


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