March 18, 2010

Crossbow tutorial

I'm pretty sure we've never done anything quite as fun for our history classes as this! We made a crossbow from items that I'm willing to bet everyone has lying around the house. This is a bit dangerous, so just know before you make one with your kids that it becomes an actual weapon and should be used only with intense adult supervision and should never be left unattended. I'd suggest disassembling it as soon as you are done. Note to our culture club friends: we'll be bringing this along next Thursday so anyone who wants to can give it a try!!!

Okay! Here's how to make your own!
Gather your supplies. You'll need 4 pencils, one ball point pen that can be taken apart, a bunch of rubber bands, and a handful of skewers like you use to grill out. Optional, but highly recommended is a band-aid.

Take 2 pencils and secure them to one another at both ends with rubber bands. Do the same for the other two.

Attach your two bundles to each other in a cross shape using a couple more rubber rubber bands.

Now find a pen. We thought our Caesar's Palace pen was humorously appropriate, but you can use whatever sort of pen you'd like. Now take the ink tube out of your ink pen and remove the end cap so that you are left with just a tube. This will be the guide for your crossbow. Now secure that to the top of your pencils. The picture shows one rubber band, but after using it we realized that we needed two rubber bands at opposite ends here to make it easier to aim consistently.

Now you'll connect two rubber bands by looping one around the other and then through itself (the way you did when you made dorky bracelets as a kid) and then slip each end between the sideways pencils of the cross beam. This is where we added the band aid as well. Go to the part of your connected rubber bands where they rest against the end of the pen and fold a band aid over making a little pull tab. This really helped prevent the rubber band from slipping off the skewer.

Now you're all ready to shoot a skewer at something. Now seriously, this will pierce all manner of things including people, so PLEASE BE SAFE!!! Load the skewer into the tube on the top, place the rubber band behind it, pull back, aim, and fire! Kachow! And it's most fun if you have some sort of target to aim at. We colored a shield with a cross like Hannah Jane imaged Constantine's soldiers might have had after his vision of the cross in the sky. Shooting at a shield seemed a little better than shooting at a picture of a knight or a horse. No moral hate mail, please...Suggestions for more appropriate targets, but no disgruntled rants!

If you can't quite figure out how to load and shoot, sit back and enjoy these videos of the kids shooting their crossbow! Too much fun!!!

Isn't Hannah Jane just a sweetheart, celebrating Haven't success and then giving me a courtesy laugh when I make a lame joke? Gosh, she's good for everyone's self esteem!

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