The Science of Baseball

The Science of BaseballThis week as we continue with the nature of science, 5th grade is learning the steps of the scientific method by taking a close look at an experiment that has already been done. An experiment, sports fans, that was done on the subject of baseball. The science of baseball, you say? Why Newton, himself, would be all over this game! Think motion, action, and reaction. Even The Magic School Bus did an episode centered around baseball, in their episode about friction.

I looked around online and found an experiment centered on baseball. In this experiment the question they were testing was How does temperature affect how far a baseball travels. This was similar in design to other experiments using balls in which they wanted to know how temperature affected the balls’ bounce. In this experiment, they tested 30 baseballs heating some of them up, putting some in the freezer, and leaving others alone, as they bounced them against a wall. Their hypothesis was that heated balls would bounce further off the wall than the room temperature and cooled baseballs. They thought that the baseballs that were heated had more energy so they would move faster.

The students were given a copy of this experiment and had to go through and pick out each of the steps of the scientific method in the experiment.  After this, the students then worked together in teams to develop a rubric for judging science fair projects. Then had to use this rubric to judge sample science fair projects and assign each project a grade based off a hundred point system. This activity also helps students prepare for their own science fair project and know what makes a good presentation of the experiment, and what doesn’t.

Next week, maybe I’ll get a chance to take in a Red Sox game. Or at least watch it on TV from their home town. I’m going to Boston for STEM training!

Willie “Pops” Stargell said, “To me, baseball has always been a reflection of life. Like life, it adjusts. It survives everything.” This is kind of like science. Science adjusts, but always survives.

science baseball diamond

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