Are your students talking about the Super Bowl today? Did you know that you can use their enthusiasm about football to get them interested in Science, Technology, Math, and Engineering (STEM) fields? It’s true! There are plenty of resources available to help you use football as a tool for teaching STEM subjects.
In particular, The Science of NFL Football video series stands out as a great resource to help you teach about STEM content using one of America’s favorite pastimes. This informative series features 10 videos, each of which lasts about four to five minutes. Each video addresses a different topic, so you can decide if you want your students to learn about geometric shapes, Newton’s Laws of Motion, Kinematics, the Pythagorean Theorem, and more. Who would have thought that you can have former NFL quarterback Joey Harrington (and scientists and professors) talk to your students about vectors?
Lesson plans to accompany each of the videos are provided at http://www.lessonopoly.org/nfl. All of these resources are available for free online. These videos and lesson plans are a great way to get students who have not been traditionally interested in STEM subjects engaged, and can reinvigorate the interest of your top students.
There is also a wide variety of articles that can help you connect football to STEM subjects. Learning about these topics can help your students understand some of the cool STEM careers associated with the Super Bowl! This was the topic of our previous blog, The STEM of Super Bowls: Career Paths. You can also use these resources to talk to your students about some of the innovative technologies that have been used at Super Bowls:
- Engineers in the End Zone – This article about college football stars who are also studying engineering.
- Top 5 Ways Super Bowl 2012 Supports the Environment – Did you know that nearly 60 tons of aluminum cans, plastic bottles, cardboard and glass were recycled at the Indiana Convention Center & Lucas Oil Stadium in 2010? Learn more about Super Bowl XLVI’s green initiatives and share the information with your students!
- Engineers Help Detect Football Injuries – Learn about how engineers are working to design football helmets that not only protect an athlete’s head from injury, but also measure the force of any impacts to determine a player’s risk having of a concussion so medical attention can be promptly provided.
- Super Bowl Replay Technology Draws on Carnegie Mellon and Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center Expertise – Did you ever wonder about the technology that allows viewers to see a Super Bowl play as if time is frozen while a camera circles around the action? Learn more in this article.
- Going Deep: Future Technology in the NFL – This MSNBC article discusses some of the technology we could see in future NFL games. Maybe one of your students will be the person to invent it!
- Top 5 Technologies in NFL Stadiums – From enormous HDTVs to retractable grass, this article will inform your students about some of the cool technology that was used at Super Bowl XLIV.
Who knows? Maybe one of the students you inspire with football-related STEM lessons will grow-up to work on issues related to the health of the Chesapeake Bay watershed!