Science at the Olympics

Science at the Olympics

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This spread from Science magazine discusses five questions about the intersection of scientific and technological innovation and the 2008 Olympics games and its athletes: What is the impact of illegal doping? Will Beijing’s notoriously polluted air cause a drop in performance? Does lowering the core body temperature before competition help athletes perform better? Does modern gear offer a competitive edge? Do brain scans hold the key to a successful strategy?

The article is intended for a general audience. It should be noted, however, that it does contain occasional scientific terms that will require further discussion or definition.

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Going Further

For Educators

This resource would be a great jumping-off point for how science and technology have broader implications in seemingly non-scientific arenas and would be a good way to get students who might not show an everyday interest in science to see how the subject is relevant to areas of interest. Particularly, it could be used to tie discussion into the intersection of sports and science and technology.

While the impetus for the article is the 2008 Summer Olympics, the questions raised will remain topical. The questions can be used together or separately in relation to lessons on sports, pollution, health, neuroscience, and biochemistry. The section about doping could even be used to tie math, current events, and science lessons together in an extended discussion about baseball, statistics, and the findings cited in the piece.

Teachers should be aware there are some more advanced terms used in the article that may require additional discussion to determine that students have understood the concepts adequately.

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