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Evil Teacher Thoughts - Olympics and Physics - RonO's Ramblings

Feb. 17th, 2010 09:40 am Evil Teacher Thoughts - Olympics and Physics

Every so often, my brain (which is supposed to be trained as a software engineer) comes up with ideas for (hopefully) fun, and challenging school assignments. This morning while watching the rest of last nights Olympic coverage (i.e. the last few skaters) I thought of one for a, probably High School, physics class that would be covering classical mechanics during February.

Break the class into groups (of one or more students) and assign each group one of the winter Olympic sports, and have them produce a report or presentation explaining the mechanics of the sport.

Most of the spots would have at least a few principles involved. Off the top of my head:

  • Figure Skating - Angular Momentum, momentum, friction
  • Speed Skating - momentum, and inelastic collisions for short track
  • Downhill Skiing and Snow Cross - gravity, angular momentum, friction
  • Cross Country Skiing - friction (not much here)
  • Snowboard Half-pipe, freestyle aerials - gravity, momentum, angular momentum
  • Sliding Sports - gravity, friction, momentum, angular momentum

I'm sure in the hands of the right teacher and the right set of students, a very good set of presentations could result.

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Comments:

From:johnridley
Date:February 17th, 2010 06:00 pm (UTC)
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My son did a physics in sports analysis for his science class. 7th grade. He did curling, some motorsport, and something else. Had to just identify which frictions were involved at that level.
From:kevin_standlee
Date:February 17th, 2010 09:06 pm (UTC)
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Physics? Try Curling -- that's all sorts of vectors involved. And it's one of only two Olympic sports (hockey is the other) which you can watch on live streaming over the internet.

Every time the Winter Olympics come around, I keep thinking I might want to try this sport, as it's mostly skill rather than endurance. As I recall, the oldest every Olympic medalist was in curling.
From:rono_60103
Date:February 17th, 2010 09:15 pm (UTC)
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ARGH! I'm sure when I was downstairs and the post was still in my head, Curling was included.