February 15, 2014

STEM and the Winter Olympics

Have you been watching the Winter Olympics? I love to watch ice skating, and I'm absolutely amazed by the artistry of the skaters and their technical skill. Flying spins, death spirals, quads, twizzles, throw jumps, .... oh my! How do they DO that? It just boggles my mind!

So when I stumbled up this amazing website by NBC Learn, I knew I had to share. The page I discovered was Science and Engineering of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, and it has 10 short videos that explain the science and engineering behind the Olympics. If you click the link titled, "Science and the Winter Olympics," in the left sidebar, you'll find 16 MORE videos on different topics! I also found a nice page on Scholastic that outlines all of the scientific concepts in each of those videos.

Some of the video titles were:
  • Olympic Motion
  • Science of Snow
  • Shaun White & Engineering the Half Pipe
  • Physics of Figure Skating
  • Olympic Movement & Robotic Design
  • Nick Goepper & the Physics of Slopestyle Skiing
Of course I went right for the video called Physics of Figure Skating! It was only 5 minutes long which was the perfect amount of time for this topic. I loved how the producers combined video footage of various jumps, throws, and spins along with diagrams of the science behind them. They sprinkled in some short interviews with Olympic athletes, too. Even though it was a bit advanced for elementary students, I think 4th and 5th graders would enjoy watching it and learning how important a science is in Olympic sports. These videos are definitely appropriate for middle school and high school students.

All of the videos were so interesting! After I watched a few of them, I realized that they also came with a transcript and complete lessons. Be sure you don't miss those two extra goodies. They are located on tabs on the right side of the video. Just pull out the tab to find them.


To find these videos, visit the NBC Learn website and click on the Free Resources link. Why not start each day with a quick look at how science, technology, and engineering play a part in the Winter Olympics? It's a timely topic and one that's sure to interest your students!


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