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Winter Olympics

  • Key Stage 3
  • Popular Activity
  • Topical

Type: Activity
Learning Strategy: Data work
Topic: Pressure & moments

The Winter Olympics will soon be flickering across a TV screen near you! In this activity students look at how skating and skiing work, before practising pressure calculations using skates and skis as examples.

11 – 14 Pressure and moments

Published: 24th January 2006
Reviews & Comments: 3

Learning objectives

Students will:
�Use the relationship between force, are and pressure to do calculations about the pressure under skates and skis
�Learn about the importance of reducing friction as much as possible for fast skating and skiing

Try the activity

You will need Acrobat Reader installed to open the activity sheets.

9L pressure and moments
�How the effect of a force depends on the area to which it is applied
�How to use the quantitative relationship between force, area and pressure
�About practical applications of the relationship

Running the activity

Show page 1 (either projected or as an OHT). Ask small groups of students to discuss each person's idea – which is the best explanation for how skating works? [Answer: Ice melts under the blades of the skates and this makes them slide easily.

Display page 2 and make sure students understand how skating and skiing work. Emphasise ideas of pressure and friction here.

Give a photocopy of page 3 to each small group. Ask them to look through the calculation example for the skater, before tackling the other three calculations on this page.

Get small groups to prepare answers to TV viewers' questions about skating and skiing, for example:
�Why do skates have thin blades?
�Why are skates flat and wide?
�What forces make skaters and skiers move?
�How do skaters and skiers reduce friction between themselves and the ground?

News links

Winter Olympics
Web site about the Winter Olympics, which start in early February 2006:
How skating works
How skiing works
More about the science of ice –and more complications!

Reviews & Comments

Write your online review to share your feedback and classroom tips with other teachers. How well does it work, how engaging is it, how did you use it, and how could it be improved?

Winter Olympics review

Nov 23rd, 2007

2 Star

My year 9 pupils were a bit confused about what they had to do. The worksheet wasn't very clear and it was a very short activity.

Reviewer: Victoria Barnes

Understanding Pressure

Mar 17th, 2006

5 Star

I projected it onto my board and they sat quietly deciding which comment was correct. Then they worked through the problems in small groups. For homework I got them to do the "TV presenter" activity suggested in the teacher's notes, and they performed their role plays the following lesson. It really helped them to understand pressure. As a non-Physicist it helped me to explain it better.

Reviewer: Liz Eves

Winter Olympics on the ice

Mar 1st, 2006

4 Star

Really had the students engaged.

Reviewer: Tammie Saunders