Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Learning About the Physics of Sports

     A spiraling football, a skateboard kickflip, a golf swing, and a hockey slapshot. These were some of the sports moves that introduced our fourth graders to the physics of sports.
     Fourth grade had the wonderful opportunity to host a fascinating presentation on the Physics of Sports on Wednesday, November 18. Ms. Linda Valerio, an engineer for the Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility at Fermilab National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, guided a discussion and exploration of the impact physics has on a variety of sports.
     Ms. Valerio first quizzed our students about Newton’s Laws of Motion. She then put on an engaging interactive physics presentation using hockey sticks, baseball bats, soccer balls, skateboards, and footballs, to name a few. She demonstrated how the laws of physics applied to all these sports and detailed how athletes can use this knowledge to excel in their chosen sport.
     She had fourth grade students come up and demonstrate techniques for throwing a football and basketball. Ms. Valerio explained how better, more aerodynamic equipment has changed how sports are played and showed students how baseball swings are analyzed. 
     The presentation allowed our students to look at physics (and sports) in a whole new way. We saw that women, like men, are great at engineering and science and that math plays an important part in excelling at sports. 
     The next time we see a hockey slapshot result in a goal or homerun swing, we will remember all of the physics that go into that winning moment! 

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