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Sochi’s Big Olympics Dig

Sochi Olympic constructionIt takes host cities a lot of time, money, and engineering to prepare for the Olympics, and Sochi, the Russian seaside resort that will welcome athletes and fans from around the world this February, is no exception. Along with luge runs and ice arenas, the area’s 218 Olympic projects include a new high-speed rail and seaport.

A recent Businessweek article estimated the total at $51 billion, making Russia’s games the costliest in history

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Build a Bobsled Racer

bobsled on track Teams of students in grades 3 to 8 learn about friction, forces, and the engineering design process by building and testing miniature bobsleds to see which can race down an icy slope either the fastest or slowest.

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Lesson: Tennis, Anyone?

tennisIn this lesson, students in grades 3 to 12 explore how engineers incorporate the latest materials and manufacturing techniques to improve the performance of sports equipment by constructing a functional racquet out of everyday materials that can volley against another team’s racquet at least six times.

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Let the (Engineering) Games Begin!

USA in UKFrom safety gear and split-second timekeepers to systems that improve training or healing, the impact of engineering on sports is pervasive. As Team USA heads to London in July, the National Science Foundation has partnered with the educational and Olympics divisions of NBC News to create videos highlighting the engineering that helps the world’s top athletes go for glory.

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Fashion, Form & Function

horseFrom Lady Gaga’s glowing, LED-encrusted gown to lightweight body armor and high-tech sports apparel, engineered fabrics are turning up well beyond the fashion world. ASEE’s Prism magazine highlights some innovative examples.

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Science and Sports Team Up

American Football 2NBCLearn and the NSF have teamed up with the NFL to show that science and sports do mix in a new 10-part documentary that examines the science involved in pro football. The free videos feature top discussions with football players, followed by scientists who explain the science and math behind certain plays, rerun in super-slo-mo.

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Website: Olympics Lesson Plans


The free site Lessonopoly has created student activities and lesson plans to support the video series, Science of the Olympic Winter Games, created by NBC Learn and the National Science Foundation. Featuring exclusive footage from NBC Sports and contributions from Olympic athletes and NSF scientists, the series aims to help teach students concepts like friction and angular momentum.

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Winter Olympics Resources for Students

edHelperedHelper offers free 2010 Winter Olympics-themed games, puzzles, booklets, activities and reading materials for students. This comprehensive web page features teaching aids in several different disciplines, including math, reading and writing, language development, critical thinking and more.

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Feature: Engineers Give Speed Skaters an Edge

5000m Relay by John Thescone

In a sport where just fractions of a second can separate a winner from also-rans, engineering makes a big difference. Speed skating, for instance, once depended on endurance and brute force. Now, it’s as much a feat of science and technology as strength.

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