are skaters able to jump from one skate, rotate their bodies three times, and
land on their other skate, all while gliding on ice? How do skaters balance
themselves on four-wheeled skates as they slide on oiled wood floors? The laws
of physics rule the world of skating. Physics determines how a skater moves,
how and when they stop, and even if they collide.
BEFORE YOU GO
- Review relevant vocabulary and key
terms: friction, torque, kinetic and potential energy, gravity, momentum,
Call ahead and ask if the staff at the rink can provide demonstrations or give lessons,
which can provide a visual representation of the vocabulary terms.
Students learn about the science and
physics behind skating.
WHAT TO WONDER
Ask: How does the design of the skate (number of blades or
wheels, width and length of blades or wheels) affect a skater’s movement?
Describe how friction is used to start a stroke or movement and how
it is used to stop movement while skating.
Observe all of a skater’s body parts while skating, not just the
legs. What are the skater’s arms, torso, and head doing while skating?
Opinion: Which do you think is more difficult to do: begin
skating/pushing off, turning or twirling, or stopping? Why?
Compare ice skating and rollerblading. How is the science behind
how you make them move similar?
Challenge: Determine the kinetic energy of yourself while skating or
that of another skater. Use the following formula: KE = 1/2mass * velocity²
Discuss the relationship and transition between the kinetic and
potential energies when a skater is jumping.
Project: Create an experiment involving Newton’s First Law of
Motion: Every body continues in its state of rest, or of uniform motion in a
straight line, unless it is compelled to change that state by forces impressed
Research the different skating moves and their levels of difficulty.
Try to gain an understanding of what makes them so difficult to do.
Social Impact: Accidents in roller skating rinks and ice rinks can cause
serious injuries. Create a safety poster that explains these risks and how to
avoid them. Be sure to include what you have learned about the physics of