Why do curve balls curve? How do ice skaters spin? And how do you get an awesome jump in the half pipe on your snowboard? There is physics behind all these movements that athletes use to create super performances in the Olympics. With some simple experiments, we're demonstrating what the physics is this week. Yesterday, our 3-5th graders built some awesome ski jumps to test how velocity, friction and gravity all affect a downhill skier's performance.
A TIP for playing your wacky straw instruments: put the end of the last straw in the crook of your elbow and hold it there by gently closing your arm on it (not too tight!). This makes it much easier to get a sound than it is when you put the straw behind your knee or in your armpit. The sound may be less offensive to sensitive persons, as well. We had one talented student this week play "Happy Birthday".
It's remarkable how science builds on the past discoveries of early scientists. Without Einstein's Theory of Relativity, we wouldn't have renowned physicist Stephen Hawkings' ideas on surviving black holes and the possibility of time travel. And even though Galileo was wrong about some things (like some of his pendulum experiment conclusions), he was very right about others (like the sun being in the center of our solar system). And then there are scientists like Jane Goodall. Thirty and more years of quietly working in Gombe has given the world a treasure of knowledge about primates. Hopefully, each and every child who comes to class this week is inspired by these examples to follow their own dreams!