While school may be out, there are plenty of sports science activities that kids can try at home. After reading the books on this month’s list, try some of these activities (or ones found in the books) or check out the list of resources to learn about drag, body fat, torque, sports medicine, and much more!
Nanotechnology and sports? Using a fun voice, easily understood analogies, and great graphics, this book explores the molecular properties of nanoparticles and the amazing developments that scientists have made in using harnessing them to improve the clothing, shoes, and equipment of athletes. Side bars and “Science in Action!” experiments help demonstrate and explain this cutting-edge science.
Do some historical research on sports equipment of the past versus modern equipment. Look at the first footballs, old tennis rackets, and tennis balls. See if you can find some old sports equipment at an antique or thrift store, or check out an online museum gallery (such as the National Museum of American History Sports &. Leisure collection: https://americanhistory.si.edu/collections/subjects/sports-leisure). Make an evolution timeline of a certain piece of sports equipment, noting how the materials have changed and why. Use images to illustrate how much that piece of gear has changed over time.
Check this out!
Super Gear Discussion and activity guide: https://jenniferswansonbooks.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/super-gear-discussion-activity-guide.pdf
Discover how scientists, engineers, and mathematicians are using science to help athletes – and how this same technology is being used in everyday applications. This book provides a peek into the cutting-edge technology being developed and includes primary source sidebars and discussion questions.
Technology is designing better gear to protect athlete’s bodies. You can try too–design a better bike helmet! Analyze your bike helmet: what kind of padding does it have? How is it shaped? How do you think it could be better? Read about how bike helmets work too (try this article: https://kidshealth.org/en/kids/bike-safety.html). Draw your dream bike helmet, labeling all the ways it can better protect your head.
Check this out!
ABDO Booklinks, Sports Science & Technology: http://www.abdobooklinks.com/browse/title/?pid=21894
Numerous sciences play a role in baseball. From physics to virtual reality, engineering to woodworking this book does a great job of introducing many of the ways science, math, and technology have interacted throughout baseball’s history. The in-depth endnotes offer great resources for further exploration.
Baseball is all about physics—with the right force, you can get motion—a fast pitch or a home run hit! But gravity is always pulling down, so angle matters too. Try seeing how far you can throw a baseball by adjusting the angle you throw it. You need a baseball, objects to mark where the ball lands, a measuring tape, and a notebook/pencil. First throw the ball straight forward as hard as you can three times. Mark where it lands and measure the distance. Record the results and average the distances. Then try this with a slight angle upward three times. And then with a steep upward angle three times. Why method of throwing made the ball go the farthest? Why do you think that method worked best? How do you think that gravity affected the ball with the different kinds of throws?
Check this out!
Exploratorium, Science of Baseball: https://www.exploratorium.edu/baseball/
Check out these sites for more fascinating and fun STEM sports resources:
- Science Buddies, Sports Science STEM Activities for Kids: https://www.sciencebuddies.org/stem-activities/subjects/sports-science
- Science of Sport, Educator Resources: https://sciencesport.org/resources/
- Science Sparks, 20 Sporty Science Ideas: https://www.science-sparks.com/sports-science/
- Exploratorium, Sport Science: https://www.exploratorium.edu/sports/
- Sciencing, Science Fair Ideas That Involve Sports: https://sciencing.com/science-fair-ideas-involve-sports-6399056.html
- Science Kids, Sports Science: https://www.sciencekids.co.nz/sports.html
- Science News for Students, Baseball: From Pitch to Hits, https://www.sciencenewsforstudents.org/article/baseball-pitch-hits
- PBS Learning Media, Basketball: https://tpt.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/c4719a6c-8c22-4d02-af07-24bd75964c1d/basketball/
- Education.com, Soccer Science: Air Pressure & Distance: https://www.education.com/science-fair/article/physics-soccer-ball/
Karen Latchana Kenney loves to write books about animals, and looks for them wherever she goes—from leafcutter ants trailing through the Amazon rain forest in Guyana, where she was born, to puffins in cliff-side burrows on the Irish island of Skellig Michael. She especially enjoys creating books about nature, biodiversity, conservation, and groundbreaking scientific discoveries—but also writes about civil rights, astronomy, historical moments, and many other topics. She lives in Minnesota with her husband and son, and bikes, hikes, and gazes at the night sky in northern Minnesota any moment she can. Visit her at https://latchanakenney.wordpress.com.