YOU'RE THE COACH!
Grades 6 - 8
Math and science come together in an exciting way when students
investigate the part math and science play in sports. The students see how
a track coach uses the concepts of velocity, angles, and parabolics to improve
Jackie Joyner-Kersee's long jump record. Students experiment using protractors,
meter sticks and rubber bands to propel an "Olympian". They explore
how varying the "Olympian's" velocity (pulling the rubber band
back farther) and the "Olympian's" trajectory (changing the angle
the rubber band is shot at) affects the distance the "Olympian"
travels. The students record their results and report their recommendations
to the Track and Field Association of the United States of America in written,
oral, and graph form.
"FUTURES, with Jaime Escalante, "Sports Performance"
Students will be able to:
- Use protractors to read angles
- Use rulers to determine measurement
- Graph the results from an experiment
- Explore the relationship between velocity, trajectory and distance.
1 per group of 3-4 students:
1 per student:
- 1 "Olympian". The class will decide on a safe object to
propel, such as a wad of
- construction paper, ping pong ball, etc.
- Thick rubber bands
- meter/yard sticks
- graph paper
- work sheet, "You're the Coach"
- safety glasses
- gym or outside playground
- optional: outfit for the teacher: whistle, athletic type shirt, baseball
Draw an angle on the overhead, and ask students to, "Estimate
the measurement of this angle." Students discuss their estimates. Next,
demonstrate how to measure the angle using a protractor. The class discusses
how close their estimates are to the actual measurement. Direct students
to, "Please work with your partner and draw an approximation of 20°,
40°, 60°, and 90° angles (without the aid of a protractor)".
Groups show the angles they drew to each other and discuss the accuracy
of the estimations. Next, pass out protractors to each group and asks students
to, "Check the accuracy of the angles you drew with a protractor."
Discuss as a class easy ways to remember the approximate size of the angles.
Working together in small groups, students go on an "angle hunt"
around the school to find angles that are 20°, 40°, 60°,
and 90°. Students may use cameras, tracing paper, or camcorders to
record the angles they find. After the "angle hunt", discuss as
a class the results of the investigation.
Say to the class,"How do you think math and science are used in different
sports?" Ask a student to record the classes' responses on the overhead.
Say to the class, "Does anyone know who Jackie Joyner-Kersee is?"
Discuss that Jackie Joyner-Kersee is an Olympic gold medalist in track.
To give students specific responsibility while viewing, introduce
the video with the following instructions, "Watch carefully how Jackie
Joyner-Kersee and her coach use math and science to improve her performance
in track. Record any math or science terms you hear during the video in
BEGIN the tape immediately following the bike segment,
when Kareem Abdul-Jabbar says, "So you can see mathematics is useful
in performance and the other aspects of sports, the total picture of sporting
life is affected by mathematics. In fact, I have a friend who happens to
be an expert in seven different sports." Speak over the video to remind
students to record any math or science terms they hear.
PAUSE the tape for discussion of terms, immediately following the
segment when the coach says, "I have to go teach Jackie to jump twenty-five
feet, odd number, so thank you for having us." Discuss with the class
what math and science terms they recorded. Ask the class, "What is
the purpose of the long jump?" Discuss that the purpose of the event
is to jump the greatest distance, and that the athlete needs to have speed.
Also discuss what affect gravity might have on the distance jumped.
To reinforce a concept, rewind the tape to the part right after the coach
is introduced and shakes hands with Jaime Escalante. Say to the class, "Let's
take another look at Jackie Joyner-Kersee performing the long jump. Listen
again while her coach specifically speaks about what math and science concepts
are used in the long jump. See if there is anything to add to our list."
RESUME the tape through the segment when her coach says, "As
Jackie's coach, I try to really teach her about the mathematics of track
and field. When Jackie long jumps, we have to figure out what her velocity
is going to be down the runway, and when she hits the board, what is her
trajectory to give her the maximum parabolics so she can land the furthest
in the sand". Talk over the video, reinforcing the terms velocity,
trajectory, and parabolics.
STOP the tape immediately following the long jump, to allow time
for students to develop definitions of the terms velocity, trajectory and
parabolics. Ask the students, "What does the coach mean by the terms
velocity, trajectory, and parabolics?" Using dictionaries and math
and science books, direct students to work in groups to define the terms,
velocity, trajectory, and parabolics. Ask each group to safely demonstrate
what the terms mean (they can draw pictures, act out the term, or come up
with their own creative interpretation.) The class will make predictions
about what effect velocity and the angle of the trajectory will have on
the distance an object is propelled.
The class will test its predictions about what effect velocity
and the angle of the trajectory will have on the distance an object is propelled,
(or the distance an athlete jumps the long jump). Working in groups of three
or four, students will investigate the relationship between the distance
an object is propelled, the amount of velocity it is propelled at, and the
angle of the trajectory.
Each group will use a meter stick, rubber band, and protractor. Wearing
safety glasses, students will stretch the rubber band over one end of the
yard stick, load the "Olympian" into the other end, and release
the rubber band. Students will vary the velocity by pulling the rubber band
back distances of 3", 6", 9", and 12". The students
will measure the distance the "Olympian" travels each time and
record the results. Groups will predict the angle of trajectory, and the
amount of velocity that will propel the "Olympian" the greatest
Students will experiment to discover which variables make the "Olympian"
travel the farthest. They will investigate how varying the speed of the
"Olympian", (the velocity, which is demonstrated by pulling the
rubber band back different distances), and varying the trajectory, (changing
the angle of the meter stick using a protractor) affects the distance the
Students will use the worksheet, "You're the Coach", to record
the results of their investigations. The students will graph the results
of their experiments. The groups will analyze the graphs and interpret the
results in a written report describing the combination of angle and force
that propelled the "Olympian" the farthest.
Students test their theories developed during the post-viewing
activities outside on a real track, using real people as the "Olympians".
Student "coaches" will guide the student "Olympians",
using protractors to direct the angle of the jump. Students will write letters
which report the results of their experiment to the Track and Field Association
of the United States of America.
Students will (under the supervision of the physical education teacher)
hold track clinics, sharing the results of their experiments, and make a
Use computer programs to explore weight and force. Investigate how trajectories
are used in the military. Investigate how other sports use math and science.
Investigate the relationship between distance, rate, and time. Perform each
experiment at least twice, record the mean.
Research sports injuries. Investigate mass by using different weights in
the rubber band. Investigate the relationship between mass, force and acceleration.
Write the "Sports Trainer" newsletter. Read biographies about
sports "greats". Write a play about a sports trainer and an athlete.
Research sports throughout history. Investigate how math and science were
used. Develop a historical time line about sports.
The FASE Production, FUTURES, with Jaime Escalante, "Sports Performance"
segment. The production also contains vignettes which demonstrate the mathematics
used in skate boarding, basketball, and bicycling.
Michael Serra. Discovering Geometry, Key Curriculum Press, Berkeley California,
Green, Carl R. Jackie Joyner-Kersee, New York, Crestwood House, 1994.
Thompson Donnis H. Modern Track and Field for Girls, Allyn and Bacon, Inc.
Computer program, Conquering Ratios and Proportions: Catapult, Program No.
209, MECC, Denver Public Schools, 1989.
Computer program, Artillery (Projectile Motion Simulation), Kirk Crawford,
Master Teacher:Diane Weaver
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worksheet associated with this lesson.
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