Search this blog

Thursday, January 29, 2015

How can you resist the (Science, LA, Character Ed) lessons of Deflate-gate?

It’s that time of year…a long winter stretch where many of us will need a recharge.  Why not re-energize your classroom with a topic that seems to have everyone talking!

Deflate Gate!   
Although there are probably a number of reasons why you might not want to discuss deflated balls in the middle school classroom, the great tie-in to the science curriculum, character education, sportsmanship, research and writing may overcome them all! Deflate Gate is a STEM PBL waiting to happen!  

Start with a little research
Have your students list all of the things that they “need to know” in order to investigate what happened.What are the facts? What are the precise rules that are involved? How did the rules come about?  
Listen to the coach’s scientific explanation.  List the science vocabulary and determine if he was using it correctly.  What do real scientists have to say?

Become a "PSI CSI"
Get them experimenting!  This is a great opportunity to have students see if they can replicate this experiment done on some footballs.
Have them design their own experiments to discover the effects of temperature on air pressure using balloons. Have them measure the diameter of the balloon at room temperature, and then after being in the refrigerator or the freezer.  Collect data.  Graph the results.  
Have them bring in their own footballs to measure PSI and see how much theirs differ from each other.  Which ones are easiest to handle? Throw? Lots of good science here:  measuring, graphing temperature vs circumference, graphing temperature vs PSI (with a good bike pump), determining variables (why weren't all the balls affected?).
Check out this "just released" Kahn Academy video on deflate-gate.  Sal asks "Does the Ideal Gas Law" show that there was no foul play?"

What about the cheating aspect?
If it is discovered that the winning team’s footballs were not properly inflated, on purpose, should there be consequences?  Perhaps your students might be interested in why some people cheat?

Some argue that the balls would not have made a difference in the outcome of the game.  Others argue that the integrity of the game is at stake and the team should be punished.  The team has been caught cheating before, but at this time it is unclear exactly what happened.  Should the team be held responsible?  If you punish the team do you punish the fans?  What actions would be fair?  Is it “just a game” or a billion dollar business that is supported by fans who expect better? 

Why not let your students get in on the conversation and collaborate on a solution using the free SCAN tool at  Set up the lesson titled “Sports, Cheating, and the Big Game” to get them talking and writing.

Deflate-gate has everyone talking?  Will it be part of your classroom discussions?

No comments:

Post a Comment