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# Javelin Throw STEM Challenge

The Olympics is almost here, and I get to introduce two of my kiddos to this special event.

To celebrate, I’m participating in an Olympic Blog Hop with some great children’s bloggers. This week there are a ton of STEM activities that all revolve around the Olympics. You can check them out here!

My children are still young so they have absolutely no idea what a javelin is. We begun by watching this short you tube video of some top javelin throws.
I pointed out the distance thrown, and we made note of how the athletes couldn’t cross the line. After the video was over, and it was watched one more time we moved onto the following steps.

Before you get started, here are a few things you need:

• meter stick
• paper towel rolls – or you could see what your children come up with
• items to add some weight to paper towel
• scotch tape

STEP 1

I started off by showing them a crumpled up piece of paper and a flat sheet of paper. I asked them which item I could throw the farthest. They made their predictions, and we tested it out. They really weren’t surprised to see that the crumpled paper went much farther. We briefly discussed density (here is a great science experiment if your kiddos show interest and want to go further), and then we tried to throw a paper towel holder. It didn’t go very far, and so I threw out the question. How do you think we can make it go further? I let them brainstorm for a few minutes then directed them to step 2.

STEP 2

I told them they had a goal to make their javelin fly the furthest, and then I literally let them at it. I gave them two paper towel holder, and walked away to do dishes. I tend to help more than I plan, so I wanted to try to step out of the room to see what they could figure out on his own. When I pocked my head in a short time later I found that C was adding a superman figure to his javelin, while N had decided to add two pieces of waded up paper on each side to make sure it was balanced.

Each one of them tested out their javelins in my living room, thankfully everything is still intact, and then headed back to the table to make some more adjustments. C figured out that he needed to put paper and tape at the end of his javelin to keep all his objects in, and N had to strengthen where his tubes met. I loved seeing them go back to the table and not give up when it didn’t work the first time.

STEP 3 (optional)

I wanted my little ones to have a good understanding of how far 90 meters is, so before we threw our javelins we measured out 90 meters. Most children don’t have a good understanding of distances, so any chance we can to give them to measure and play with distances, the better off they are. We were all quite shocked at how far it actually was.

STEP 4

Now is the best part..the throwing part. What child doesn’t enjoy seeing how far they can throw an object, especially an object that they made. I loved that without me even mentioning it they had to have a running start. Over and over they threw their hand crafted javelins, trying different stances and different holds to see if they could get their creation to fly the furthest. After playing for awhile I declared practice time over, and that the games had begun.

The boys each threw their javelin four times, and we carefully measured each throw and recorded it.  After the fourth throw we added up them up, and the child that had the largest total won. If your children are a little older, you could always find the mean. All they would  have to do is add up the four throws and then divide by four. The person with the highest mean would win.

I won’t tell you whose did best though. You give it a try and see which design works best for you and your kiddos.

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