February 17th, 2010

Sepia, RB Office

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.