Hands-on demonstrations and explanations show how scientific principles apply in the wide world of sports.
Organized into seven chapters based on how and where the sports are played (bats and balls, indoor sports, aquatic sports, etc.), each short segment is based on a particular question: "Why does pumping up a basketball make it bouncier?" "Why are pole vaulting poles so bendy?" "Do tennis surfaces really matter?" The 54 demonstrations (which the author calls experiments but are often little more than observations) are also organized into sports-themed sections: necessary materials (“the line-up”), illustrated step-by-step instructions (“play ball!”), a section of any needed cautions (“two-minute warning”), and explanation (“slo-mo replay”). The materials are readily available, and expected times are given for each. Many can be done in a matter of a few minutes, a few might be as much as a half hour. For the most part the explanations really do connect a science principle with a sports phenomenon, though occasionally they show the opposite or muddy the waters. Terms such as “momentum,” “velocity,” “torque,” and “elastic collision” are defined in context and in a glossary. It’s a pity there is no index, but sports enthusiasts will find it entertaining, and science teachers could use examples to spice up their presentations.
Worth the purchase just to learn the most effective angle to skip a stone across a water surface. (Nonfiction. 9-14)