Saturday, February 05, 2011

Tackling Physics While Watching The Superbowl

The superbowl is tomorrow (Sunday), and while many sports fans will be watching it for the game, a bunch of students will be watching it from the perspective of Newton's Laws in action.

On Friday, former Oakland Raiders linebacker Mario Celotto treated students in Ann Shioji's science class to a lesson about the physics of football, focusing on Newton's third law of motion, published in 1687.

The law simply states that "for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction" -- meaning that forces, like pushing and pulling, always come in pairs and occur simultaneously. This explains why releasing air from a balloon propels it forward and why defensive tackles get a running start -- to generate more force for the takedown.

Well, not sure how the "...defensive tackles get a running start..." part is a demonstration of the 3rd Law (more like a demonstration of momentum), but that's OK. Hope the students get to learn something from watching the game.


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