Place a pebble in the pocket and trap it by pinching the pocket with thumb and forefinger. Hold the handle steady at arm’s length. Keep a light, but firm, grip on the pocket and pull back.
Slingshots aren’t inherently very dangerous, but releasing projectiles can be. Always know where you are pointing your slingshot and NEVER aim in the direction of a person or pet. You are responsible for every projectile you release.
Release the pocket!
Slingshot masters say that the key to aiming is to hold the pocket steady and move the forked stick around to line up your shot. Aluminum cans make good targets: set ’em up and knock ’em down.
Accuracy comes from repetition. Gather a pile of pebbles and spend a few minutes every day aiming at a variety of targets. A slingshot master can hit a soda can from 20 paces.
The slingshot is a fairly modern invention, as these things go. It requires long, thin strips of stretchy rubber — a material produced first in the late 1800s and not widely available until the early 1900s. The idea is really an update of the ancient sling (a leather pocket tied to 2 leather strips), the weapon purportedly used by David to bring down Goliath.
Rubber got its name from Joseph Priestley (inventor of soda water), who noticed that blobs of it were good for rubbing pencil marks off paper.
If there was no air resistance to contend with, a pebble fired from a slingshot would travel in what is referred to as a ballistic trajectory. From the moment the pebble leaves the pocket of the slingshot, gravity bends its path down towards Earth. Put the air back into the equation and the path gets even shorter. Without air resistance, your pebble would travel almost twice as far.
Gever founded Tinkering School in 2005 in order to learn how children become competent and to explore the notion that kids can build anything, and through building, learn anything. A self-taught computer scientist with no formal education, Gever’s expertise is really in… thinking. Gever has taught workshops and made presentations to both kids and adults around the world. He has spoken at TED, twice, written articles for Make:, and authored the book Fifty Dangerous Things (you should let your children do).