Science and Shooting Sports

The need for science, engineering, and technology education is essential for today’s young people. 4-H programs prepare youth for the challenges of the 21st century by engaging them in a process of discovery and exploration. Science is interwoven into learning experiences through inquiry based opportunities that connect knowledge, skills, and resources to practical application across multiple settings.


Question: How do instructors integrate science lessons into a shooting sports club?

Answer: Some clubs have too many youth to shoot on the line at the same time. Instead of having youth wait their turn to shoot, engage them with an activity. Consider having a teen leader or another volunteer facilitate these activities. Understanding these key science concepts will help youth further develop shooting skills. The following activities do not need to be led by a certified shooting sports instructor.  Some of these activities may also lend themselves to a virtual presentation.

Activities for your club:

  • NEW! Archery Challenge: Shooting on Hills (Prize still unclaimed... ) See the Pinned Post on the Michigan 4-H Shooting Sports page for background and the challenge!
  • Straight as an Arrow, Purdue University 4-H You’ve probably heard the expression, straight as an arrow. But, do arrows really travel in a straight line? We will be exploring this through this project.
  • Arrow Design & Velocity  Youth will understand how velocity affects distance.
  • Insulation Calculation Youth discover how properties of insulation affect them.
  • Marshmallow Catapult  4-H Youth use a simple self-built catapult to illustrate the laws of force and motion.
    • View a tutorial here, or another one here.
  • Mass and Velocity  Members discover and describe different properties of lead and steel (mass, inertia, and momentum). They can then decide which type (material, construction) and size (diameter, weight) of arrow, ammunition or shot size is appropriate for a shooting sport event or activity.
  • Simple Structures – Tower Students will understand how physiology of the human body is used to “engineer” a stable platform or base for better shooting sports performance.
  • Simple Structures – Bridge  Students will understand how physiology of the human body is used to “engineer” a stable platform for better shooting sports performance.
  • Stomp Rockets Students can demonstrate Newton’s 3rd Law of Motion, and explain how the stomp rockets illustrate it. 
    • View a tutorial here.
  • String Has Energy Members begin to understand the relationship between potential and kinetic energy.
  • Range Safety Technology  4-Her’s will work together in a hands-on challenge involving the engineering design process and the use of Arduino technology to resolve gun range related safety issues.
  • Why Orange  Youth will understand why orange is used as a safety color in shooting sports.
  • Colorado STEM Connection A 70-page STEM curriculum from Colorado 4-H Shooting Sports
    • Accuracy and Precision Lesson. View tutorial here

 Videos to discuss as a group:

 Explore these shooting sports and outdoor skills videos during virtual or in-person club meetings and discuss as a team. 

Sight In Your Binoculars
MSUE staff
Outdoor Skills Careers
15 short videos from NOU
Coach's Eye
App tutorial
Hunting Skills
9 short videos from NOU
Hunter Education Tools Demos
12 videos on firearm types
 11 Steps to Archery Success, NOU
How to Sight in Your Rifle, NOU  How to Sight In Your Shotgun, NOU  How to Sight in your Archery Center Shot, NOU