Aiming True

based on 15 ratings
Author: Judee Shipman

Grade Level: 9th - 12th; Type: Physics/Aerodynamics


Design the perfect arrow. The goals of this project are:     

  1. To study the history and aerodynamics of arrows.     
  2. To calculate an optimal arrow design.     
  3. To invent a new or improved arrow design.

Research Questions:     

  • What are arrows made of?     
  • How is a basic arrow designed and created?     
  • What is the average distance an arrow will travel when released from a bow?     
  • How fast does the average arrow fly?     
  • What materials work best for making arrows?     
  • How has arrow-making technology changed over time?

Arrows are among the oldest weapons known to mankind.  Early humans fashioned arrows from chiseled stone points tied to lightweight reeds with sinew cord.  These were used for hunting and self-defense.  Arrow-making technology has changed quite a lot since ancient times. In this project we attempt to design a perfect arrow.


  • Computer with Internet access
  • Color printer
  • Digital camera
  • Typical office/hobby/hardware/craft supplies (paper, poster board, glue, etc.)
  • Stone, fiberglass or aluminum for the arrow heads.
  • Straight, slender stakes of wood, bamboo, reeds or fiberglass for the shafts.
  •  Feathers, plastic or very thin metal for the fletching.
  • Leather cord
  • Archery target or other safe target for arrow shooting practice.

All materials can be found in your home, at local stores, or on ebay.

Experimental Procedure:     

  1. Read overview of relevant topics (see bibliography below and terms listed above)     
  2. Address all of the above terms and research questions.     
  3. Search and print out interesting images relevant to your topic.     
  4. Take photographs throughout the course of the experiment.     
  5. Consult several arrow-making specialists.     
  6. Attempt to design and build a perfect arrow, or improve on an existing design.     
  7. Use an archery target to test different arrow designs.     
  8. Carefully record all results and observations.     
  9. Analyze your data.     
  10. Interpret your findings in a detailed report.   
  11. Include interesting photos, diagrams, models and artifacts in your science fair display.  

Terms/Concepts: Bow; Crossbow; Fletching; Nock ; Trajectory



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