Science of the Olympic Winter Games

Science of the Olympic Winter Games

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These videos, created by NBC in partnership with the National Science Foundation, feature interviews with athletes and coaches who explain the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics behind the 2014 Olympic Winter Games. The science is broken down by capturing the athletes' movements with a state-of-the-art, high-speed camera called the Phantom Cam, which has the ability to capture movement at rates of up to 1500 frames per second. This allows frame-by-frame illustrations of Newton's Three Laws of Motion, the Law of Conservation of Angular Momentum, friction, drag, speed, velocity, and other scientific concepts. The transcripts are viewable by clicking on the tab on the left side of the video viewer. The videos average about four minutes in length and feature the athletes involved in the individual sports as well as interviews with scientists who explain some of the scientific concepts involved in the sports. The ten titles in the series are:

  • Stability & Vibration Damping in Alpine Skiing
  • Shaun White & Engineering the Half Pipe
  • Shani Davis & Engineering Competition Suits
  • Science of Snow
  • Science of Ice
  • Physics of Figure Skating
  • Olympic Movement & Robotic Design
  • Nick Goepperd & the Physics of Slopestyle Skiing
  • Injury & Recovery
  • Building Faster & Safer Bobsleds
You can get even more science of winter sports by going to the Science of the Olympic Winter Games for 2010. This resources has sixteen videos.

Going Further

For Educators

The videos can be used to connect the Winter Olympic sports to concepts currently being studied in the classroom. You can have the class view the videos prior to the competitions and then have students apply what they learned to the results of the events. Students also can research previous Olympics and answer the question of how technology has affected sports over the years.

Water 3: Melting and Freezing
K-2 | Hands-On
The Water Cycle
3-5 | Hands-On
Putting the Ice in Hockey
6-8 |
Frosty the Snowman Meets His Demise: An Analogy to Carbon Dating
9-12 | Hands-On
3-12 | Website

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