When you’re watching the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics next month, will STEM topics come to mind? The educational arm of NBC News certainly hopes so.
With the Winter Olympics rapidly approaching, NBC Learn, in partnership with the National Science Foundation and NBC Olympics (a division of NBC Sports Group), just launched a free online video series called “Science and Engineering of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games.” The videos, available to the public for free online, tackle subjects such as stability and vibration in alpine skiing, engineering the half pipe, the science of snow and ice, and, as seen below, the physics of slopestyle skiing.
For each video, NBC Learn tapped a STEM-related expert, including a mathematician at the University of Utah, a professor at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, the head of the physics department at the University of Michigan, and a biomedical engineer at the University of Connecticut Health Center.
“These stories demonstrate the interplay between sports and engineering, in areas from robotics to medical treatments,” said Pramod Khargonekar, the NSF assistant director for engineering, in a statement. “We hope the impressive feats of athletes and engineering researchers will engage and inspire young people, as they see how engineering technologies can change many facets of our lives.”
The National Science Teachers Association will soon release accompanying science- and engineering-focused lesson plans for middle and high school teachers to go along with each video.
“Teachers are always looking for new and innovative ways of cultivating student interest in science, technology, engineering, and math,” said David Evans, the NSTA executive director, in a statement. “The ‘Science and Engineering of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games’ videos provide teachers with an opportunity to connect their curriculum to real-world applications, which enhances student engagement and provides examples of how their learning is linked to events happening outside the classroom.”
This isn’t NBC Learn’s first foray into sports-related STEM learning. Back in the summer of 2013, the site debuted a 10-part “Science of Golf” video series. Previous “Science of” series have also covered NFL football, NHL hockey, and the Summer Olympics (tied to the London 2012 Games).
A version of this news article first appeared in the Schooled in Sports blog.