The physics of sports: the math and science behind a champion

Stephanie Coggins, Science, Bailey Middle School

Final Unit (PDF)     Implementing Common Core Standards (PDF)

200 Word Synopsis

This unit seeks to engage Middle School students in the physics concepts surrounding forces, motion, and energy by relating these concepts to sports. This unit was specifically designed for 7th grade science students, working in tandem with the 7th grade math curriculum. Students will not only understand physics concepts like speed, velocity, acceleration, and momentum, but they will also learn how to use math to identify relationships between variables and chart their data using graphs and charts. By using real-world situations and applying math and science to sports, students become more engaged in the content they are learning, and they no longer ask that dreaded question, “Why do we need to learn this?” In this unit, students are expected to think on a higher level with a variety of cooperative learning activities, including a culminating unit project where students have the opportunity to select their favorite athlete and compare him or her to winning Olympic athletes using a variety of physics-based statistical measures. Technology, literacy, and collaboration are two twenty-first century skills that are deeply embedded in this unit. Students will engage in internet-based research, learn to work closely and cooperatively with their peers, and even engage in argumentative writing.