“How have physics and materials science revolutionised soccer?”
“What are Olympic medals really made of?”
“How do doping tests work using chemistry?”
For the London 2012 Olympics, here are some free online resources that answer science questions about sport, using physics, biology, chemistry and mathematics…
1. Chemistry in the Olympics
The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) has produced these educational resources for students aged 7-18 and their teachers. It is also running a global experiment to test the effects of sports drinks on athletic performance. Visit the Chemistry in the Olympics website.
2. Scientists in Sport
This site is part of GlaxoSmithKline’s outreach programme. Each classroom activity comes with a student sheet and teacher notes. Check out the activities and project ideas, which range from doping to nutrition and sports equipment.
3. Maths and Sport
This is an offshoot of the award-winning Millennium Mathematics Project at the University of Cambridge. The resources are divided into activities for school students and articles for older students and the general reader. Visit Maths and Sport.
Prim-Ed is the official educational partner of the Irish Olympic team. It has released an educational pack of stickers, banners and books about the Olympics.
While the pack isn’t free, Prim-Ed is providing a free lesson plan for primary schools, incorporating a video clip by Olympic silver medallist and former world champion Sonia O’Sullivan along with a free worksheet from the Olympic resources to use in the classroom. Get the free lesson resources.
5. In the Zone
This outreach project is by the Wellcome Trust for schools in the UK. Its latest resources focus on exercise, energy and movement, the biological systems that keep us moving, and the psychological, social and ethical aspects of exercise and sport. Visit In the Zone.
6. Science of the Olympics – Cool Science Experiments
Steve Spangler is a celebrity teacher, science toy designer and broadcaster. He’s probably best known for his “Mentos and Diet Coke” geyser experiment that went viral on the internet in 2005 and prompted more than 1,000 similar YouTube videos. View some of his Olympics-related experiments.
- Watch a video about science and sport from our Discover Science & Engineering “Discover Sport” stand at the 2010 BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition
- Check out some videos about the science behind soccer
- Read a Science Week feature on the chemistry of sports drinks
- Are Olympics medals really made of gold, silver and bronze? Find out on How Stuff Works and About.com how they have changed over time