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PEC's Web Site Review of the Month: April 2008 by Kelly E. Duell

Sports Science

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Reviewed Site: Exploratorium Sport Science (www.exploratorium.edu/sports/)

Site Content Area: Science of Sport

Site Requirements/Access:

This site states the user must have at least Netscape Navigator 4; I used IE7 and had no problems opening or using any of the pages. You will need to have Active-X installed, Shockwave, and Flash to play some of the features on several of the pages. Shockwave is currently not compatible with Macs with Intel processors, sorry. There does not appear to be any other tech-specific requirements.

Features of the Site:

This is a really interesting website with a lot of information, focusing mainly on the Science of Sport. To find the Sport Science page from the main page, look to the right side to locate the navigation, and click on Sport Science link. This will bring you to a page with various links, including sports links to baseball, cycling, skateboarding, hockey, and surfing; plus links to online activities, online exhibitions, webcasts, hands-on activities, science news, online magazine, and cool websites; there is also a link on the top for educators.

The Online Activities page has many sub-sections, some of them can be used for integration, some you can used in relation to Sport Science, and of course, there is one section that is in direct alignment with Sport Science. One of the activities is the Collisions on the Ice, which uses ice hockey to demonstrate energy, velocity, momentum, and Newton�s third law, with some interactive tables and charts. There is a section about aerodynamics (wind resistance, drag and propulsive power) using cycling as the vehicle to get this material across to the reader; and of course some interactive tables too. Finally, the baseball activities overlap with the Science of Baseball page, which is discussed below.

The Online Exhibitions page, Sport Science, is at the bottom, left side of the page and includes skateboarding, baseball, cycling, hockey, and surfing. The Surfing page has brief descriptions about the links that will take you on a journey to learn about such topics as the physics behind surfing, or how to forecast good surf. The Skateboarding page illustrates the science behind the tricks of boarding, plus links to equipment and a glossary of the lingo. The Science of Hockey page has information about the various aspects of the game and how science is an integral part of the game. You�ll find all the answers you are looking for about cycling on the Science of Cycling page, including equipment and human power. If you click on the baseball link you will find the baseball main page that will lead you to exhibits, articles, activities, features, information about girls in baseball, and many others. I thought the Fastball Reaction time and Scientific Slugger exhibits were pretty cool. Students will love seeing how fast they can react to the pitcher; myself, I could only get as low as 18 seconds; but it is not just another online game, it has the information about what is happening, you know, the Scientific Principles.

Look at the second column, at the top, on the Hands-on Activities page to find the Sport Science section. This has links to the science of�previously mentioned activities that will take you to those pages. Along with that there are two other activities worth taking at look at; both determining what kind of feet you have or your walking style (rolling feet or twisting feet).

Take a look at the links at the top of the page; locate the Educate tab; here you will find their tools for teaching page. Although at the time of review there were no specific links for our discipline, there were some pretty cool links that could be utilized in our classes or just plain interesting to you, the educator. They do offer a free Educator Newsletter, which may come in handy for receiving updates without having to remember to go to the site each month.

This site offers an online magazine with a lot of interesting categories, but I did not see anything specific to our discipline. The webcasts are on various topics, so you do have to search for one pertaining to Sport Science, which may take some time unless it is an upcoming or recent webcast. The Science Wire section is subtitled �technology news beyond the headlines,� which has many interesting articles each month. The last link in the list is further �cool sites� from their perspective. If you surf the site you will also stumble upon their Q & A page, which I hope will expand over time since it does not have many questions on it currently, but it does have a few good ones.

Conclusion:

This website is a thumbs-up for anyone looking for ways to integrate scientific principles into their curriculum. The lay-out is appealing; the navigation is user-friendly, and there is just enough information to peak your interest, without being overwhelming. I found much of the material stimulating my brain to think of other ways to introduce these principles in a more creative and meaningful way. This site is definitely worth a look-see.


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