Thursday, February 2, 2012

Resources for Teaching the Math & Science of Sports

The Super Bowl is coming up this weekend and many classrooms will have students buzzing with their predictions for Sunday's game. This provides a good opportunity to incorporate math and science with sports. Below is a re-publishing of a review I wrote two years ago about NBC's Science of Football lesson materials.

The Science of Football is a series of ten videos from NBC Learn explaining and demonstrating math and science concepts as they relate to football. The Science of Football could be a good way to get students who enjoy sports, but don't necessarily enjoy math and science, interested in learning math and science. Lessonopoly offers lesson plans corresponding to each video to support your use of the videos in your classroom.

Here are some resources for incorporating other sports into math and science lessons.

Exploratorium's Sports Science site contains many pages on which students can explore the math and science of team sports as well as the individual sports of bicycling and skateboarding. The bicycling section has a calculator that students can use to calculate the aerodynamic drag and propulsion power of a bicyclist.

Sport Science on has couple of videos that are relevant as school winds-down and kids turn their attention to Little League baseball and softball. In MLB Vision Sport Science evaluates how quickly a player has to respond to a baseball thrown ninety miles per hour. Then to answer the question, can you really keep your eyes on the ball? Sport Science attaches an eye tracking device to Nomar Garciapara.

In Hitting a Softball Sport Science explains the scientific and mathematical differences between hitting a baseball and hitting a softball.

Sport Science: Distraction looks at whether or not all of those waving, screaming fans behind a basketball hoop actually make a difference in whether or not a player makes his or her free throw. You could turn this into an active survey in your school's gymnasium. Have your students shoot some hoops without distraction and tally their average rate of success. Then have them test out distractions like waving, playing music, or yelling to see if there is a change in the success rate.

Well Home offers an interesting infographic showing the energy expended by athletes performing various athletic tasks. I've seen other infographics like this and usually they only mention calories. Well Home's infographic mentions calories as well as watts and speed measurements. Well Home's infographic could be printed and displayed in health, physical education, and or mathematics classes.

Well Home's Energy in Sports infographic goes well with another resource that contains mathematics and science lessons in the context of sports. ESPN's series Sports Science looks at the mathematics and science involved in various athletic feats.