Backyard Ballistics

Backyard Ballistics is one of the books my son got for Christmas. We have been waiting for some moderate temperatures so we could be outdoors to build a potato cannon.

We had great fun building it over 2 days. The second day was spent making some improvements after we saw that our original design had a flaw.

We all learned about Isaac Newton’s 3 laws of motion and how French armies developed the petard, a type of cannon. My son took great delight in learning that the word “petard” comes from the French word “peter,” meaning “to break wind.” If you know any 10 year old boys, you’ll know how often that new knowledge has found its way into every possible conversation.

I heartily recommend this book. It has wonderful step by step instructions and explanations on the physics involved in each project.


Loading the potato


Pumping up the petard


“Spuds away!”


Fetching the potato

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Comments

  1. Hey Connie,
    How is everything going for you? I’m sorry that I haven’t been on your site in awhile. It looks as if you all had fun with the cannon. I have a question for you. Do you know how to make little figures out of paper? I have to do something in my fine arts class, and it involves paper figures. The only problem is, I don’t know how to make them. Can you help me? I would appreciate it greatly.

  2. Myfriendconnie says:

    Jamie, Daaah-link, call me. I have a master’s degree in paper figure cutting.

  3. BTW, it’s not only 10 year old boys that get a kick out of the etymology of “petard.” 24 year old boys get the same kick ;)

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  1. [...] thoroughly enjoyed The Art of the Catapult and has often referred to it to build many contraptions. Backyard Ballistics is another book that he has spent many hours reading and using to build awesome weapons. Check out [...]

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