Village Science - Teacher Edition



Teacher Edition Contents

Skill, Tools, & Craftsmanship

Cutting & Drying Fish
Nails, Pegs, & Lashings
Falling Trees &
     Small-Scale Logging
Chainsaw Clutch & Chain
Ice Pick


Wood Stoves
Wall Tents
Insulation & Vapor Barriers
Gas Lamps & Gas Stoves


Piloting A Boat
Boat Design
Magnetos & Spark Plugs
Outboard Motor Lower Unit

Outboard Motor Cooling System
Snowmachine Tracks
Snowmachine Clutch
Winter Trails


  1. Ask the people in your village what kinds of guns they have. Is there a favorite manufacturer? Favorite caliber? Favorite action (bolt, lever, semi-auto)? If people don’t want to answer, be sensitive. Some people in the bush feel that the government is threatening their rights to have guns and they are reluctant to let people know what they have.

  2. Does anyone in your village reload? Ask them about the best bullets and calibers for hunting in your area. Ask them to demonstrate reloading a few cartridges.

    Reloading by an experienced person is quite safe. Reloading by an inexperienced person is quite dangerous. Monitor students activities in this regard.

  3. Start a collection of different cartridges. Do not take them from live ammunition! This is very dangerous. Get them from reloaders in your village, hunters, or from gunshops when you go to town. Research the history of each cartridge. They all have a story.

    This is fascinating. There are many gun books and magazines that have history woven all through them.

  4. Usually someone has saved a bullet that has been cut out of a moose or caribou. Ask around the village for one. Can you see the grooves imprinted in the bullet from the rifling in the barrel? Draw the mushroomed bullet. Do you think it hit a bone?

  5. Try filing the different parts of the bullet. Is it hard or soft?

    The lead is quite soft. The copper jacket is a bit harder.

  6. Ask your local reloading expert to put a primer in a cartridge and omit the bullet and powder. Let him shoot the primer outside. Do you now have a sense of how little power is in the primer?

  7. Ask your reloading expert to put a little powder on a flat surface and light it with a match. Does it explode or burn quickly? Smell the burned powder.

    Do not let students do this! Demonstrate only.

  8. Scrape the lead on a .22 cartridge with your fingernail. Can you detect the wax to lubricate the bullet?

    You should.

  9. Handle lead and steel shot from a shotgun. Can you feel the difference in weight?

    You should.

  10. If a bullet came out of a rifle without spin it would wander. The best way to observe this is to hit a volleyball underhanded in the gym. If you hit it with no spin, people on the receiving end will see it wander, and will have a hard time hitting it. Research what a “knuckle ball” is in baseball and how it is thrown. What is the relationship of this phenomenon to shotgun pellets?

    Shotgun pellets are like a floater in basketball or a knuckle ball in baseball. Without spin they tend to wander.

  11. With the bolt removed from a bolt action rifle (to remove all danger) look down the barrel. Can you see the rifles? How do you think police verify that a certain bullet was shot from a certain gun?

    They claim to be able to match the rifles in the barrel with the grooves in the bullet. I don’t see how they can with so many guns made in assembly line manner.

  12. Feel the recoil pad on some of the rifles and shotguns in the village. Do you think they would help reduce the kick of the gun? Do you find recoil pads on .22s? Why?

    Recoil pads do help, but a .22 kicks so little a recoil pad is unnecessary.

  13. Bore sight a bolt-action rifle according to the directions given in the text. Are the sights or scope on target?

    If they are not, align them.

  14. Ask people in your village which they prefer: open sights or a scope. What are their reasons for their preference? Does it vary with the animal hunted?

  15. From a ballistics chart, compare the three top favorite rifles in your village for velocity of bullet, drop of bullet, and foot pounds of energy at 100, 200, and 300 yards. Note the differences for different weight bullets. What are the favorites in your village?

    This will vary depending on the animal. A round that is good for moose in the brush will drop too much for seal on the ocean.

  16. Draw the trajectory of those three favorite rifles and three favorite bullet weights.

  17. Ask the oldtimers what the favorite rifles were long ago and why.

  18. Drop two balls of the same size but different weights at the same time from a given height. Does the heavier one fall faster? Why or why not?

    It defies our thinking, but two balls of the same size will drop at the same rate even if their weight isn’t the same. The light one will drop at the same speed as the heavy one.

  19. Ask the good hunters in your village whether they shoot with one or both eyes open.

  20. Test the students in your class. Which eye is dominant? Do they shoot right handed or left handed? Does anyone shoot right handed with a left eye dominant or vice versa?

Student Response

  1. What are the three types of guns?

    Rifles, handguns, and shotguns

  2. Draw a loaded cartridge and label the parts cartridge, powder, primer, bullet.

  3. What are the four differences that must be considered when choosing a bullet?

    Size, shape, jacket, and hardness

  4. What is the material most often used in making bullets? What is the jacket material?

    Lead with a copper jacket

  5. What are primers and what do they do?

    Primers are like caps in a cap gun. They explode lightly when struck by the firing pin. Their explosion ignites the gun powder.

  6. What energy conversions take place as we squeeze the trigger? What kind of energy is stored in a cartridge?

    Kinetic energy of the firing pin creates heat that releases the chemical energy of the primer, that releases heat energy, that releases the chemical energy of the powder, which is converted to kinetic energy of the bullet.

  7. What is the difference between handgun and rifle powder?

    Handgun powder burns faster so it can be completely consumed before it gets out of the short barrel.

  8. What element is used in the chemical reaction in a cartridge that replaces oxygen in the burning process?


  9. Draw the rifling in the barrel of a rifle.

  10. What are four kinds of actions of rifles? Name one advantage of each.

    Single shot is simple and doesn’t often misfire. Bolt action is reliable and tends to be more accurate. Pump action is fast and doesn’t require the shooter to remove his eye from the sight while loading another cartridge. Semiautomatic is very fast.

  11. What are the two kinds of actions of handguns? Name one advantage of each.

    Revolvers are reliable. Semiautomatics are fast. (not in text, but there are a few single shot handguns.)

  12. In your own words, what is recoil?

    The gun kicking back. As the bullet is pushed out of the barrel, the gun is pushed back against the shooter’s hands. (This is Newton’s third law A = R)

  13. Draw the side view of the process of bore sighting a rifle.

  14. List three advantages of open sights.

    They are reliable

    They are inexpensive

    They are easy to fix

    They don’t get out of adjustment easily.

  15. List three advantages of scopes.

    They allow the hunter to see the target clearly

    The hunter’s eye can focus in one place

    They gather light

  16. Draw the trajectory of a fast bullet.

  17. Draw the trajectory of a slow bullet.


  1. Phil reloads his own shells for $.30 each. A box of 20 shells costs $19.95 in the store. His reloading equipment cost $65. Approximately how long does he have to reload (if he uses an average of 3 boxes a year) in order to pay for his reloading equipment?

    A box cost him $6 to reload. The first year his expenses are $65 + $18 = $83. The store shells would have cost him $60. By the middle of the second year, his reloading will have paid for itself.

Questions or comments?
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