SCIENCE OF THE SUMMER OLYMPICS: The Impact of Jenny Simpson - An Engineeering Perspective (Grades 6-12) Print

Objective:

Framework for K–12 Science Education: PS2.A Forces and Motion, PS2.B: Types of Interactions, LS1.A: Structure and Function, ETS1.A: Defining and Delimiting Engineering Problems, ETS1.B: Developing Possible Solutions


Introduction Notes:

Science of the Summer Olympics

The Impact of Jenny Simpson

An Engineering Perspective (Grades 6-12)

 

Lesson plans produced by the National Science Teachers Association.

Video produced by NBC Learn in collaboration with the National Science Foundation.

 

Background and Planning Information

 

About the Video

Dr. Rory Cooper, biomechanical engineer at the National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center at the University of Pittsburgh, and Dr. Justin Laferrier, a physical therapist in Cooper’s lab, detail the forces applied to the body when running and how engineers develop products to reduce the impact of these forces. One highlight is the anti-gravity treadmill, which does not actually reduce gravity, but supports part of the runner’s weight while running on a cushioned surface.

 

0:00     0:12     Opening Credits

0:13     0:36     Introducing Jenny Simpson

0:37     1:07     Effects of the impact of running

1:08     1:35     Rory Cooper: engineering solutions to effects of impact

1:36     2:14     Justin Laferrier: impact forces on the body

2:15     2:23     Solutions to reducing effects of impact forces

2:24     2:42     Introducing the anti-gravity treadmill

2:43     3:24     How the anti-gravity treadmill works

3:25     3:53     How the anti-gravity treadmill helps

3:54     4:08     Importance of engineering solutions

4:09     4:18     Closing credits

 

Language Support

To aid those with limited English proficiency or others who need help focusing on the video, make transcript of the video available. Click the Transcript tab on the side of the video window, then copy and paste into a document for student reference.

 

Connect to Science

Framework for K–12 Science Education  PS2.A Forces and Motion

                                                                    PS2.B: Types of Interactions

                                                                    LS1.A: Structure and Function

 

Related Science Concepts

         Relationship of force, mass, and acceleration

         Relationship of force and pressure

         Structure of the skeletal system

         Stress fractures and joint problems

 

(page 1)


Connect to Engineering

Framework for K–12 Science Education  ETS1.A: Defining and Delimiting Engineering Problems

                                                                    ETS1.B: Developing Possible Solutions

Engineering in Action

The original problem that led to the anti-gravity treadmill highlighted in Science of the Summer Olympics (SOTSO): The Impact of Jenny Simpson was the need for astronauts to be able to exercise comfortably under Earth-gravity loads while in space. Copy and paste the following link into your browser: http://spinoff.nasa.gov/Spinoff2009/hm_5.html. The spinoff need was the adaptation to enable exercise and training for medical or athletic needs in such a way that impact on the body was reduced. The development of this tool—the anti-gravity treadmill—involved the engineering knowledge-generating activity invention.

 

Take Action with Students

Engineers must design systems components, and processes within boundaries established by constraints. Brainstorm with students a list of constraints within which engineers would have to work if given the problem to design a tool that reduces impact on runners’ bodies—such as shoes, track surfaces, and treadmills.  Encourage students to explore solutions to a problem related to shoe design using the Design Investigations section of the Inquiry Outline as a guide. As a class, set up constraints within which students will need to work, such as: the end product must still be wearable, reduce resultant forces by a quantitative or qualitative measure, and be “cool looking.”

 

 

Inquiry Outline for Teachers

Encourage inquiry using a strategy modeled on the research-based science writing heuristic. Student work will vary in complexity and depth depending on grade level, prior knowledge, and creativity. Use the prompts liberally to encourage thought and discussion. Student Copy Masters begin on page 6.

 

Explore Understanding

Ask volunteers to share experiences about running—competitively, in play, or as part of physical education. Use prompts such as these to start students talking.

         When my foot strikes or moves on the ground while I run, it….

         When I run barefoot, my feet feel like….

         Running on concrete feels different from running on grass because….

         My legs don’t feel like my feet hit the ground as hard when I wear running shoes because….

 

Show the video SOTSO: The Impact of Jenny Simpson.

 

Focus the discussion on the effects of running on the human body. Elicit from students ways that materials are engineered to reduce impact on a runner’s legs and hips. Then extend student thinking to how non-runners can benefit from such engineered products.

         When I watched the video I thought about….

         The expert in the video claimed that _____ because….

         Jenny Simpson thinks she got a stress fracture in her femur because….

         Running causes more impact than walking because….

         A small runner can feel the effect of as much force as a large runner depending on….

 

(page 2)

 

         Non-runners wear running shoes because….

         People who stand on concrete floors all day often complain of foot and leg problems because….

 

Ask Beginning Questions

Stimulate small-group discussion with the prompt: The video makes me think about these questions…. Have small groups list questions they have about factors that influence how Jenny, people in other professions, or animals can reduce impact on the body and the possibility of stress fractures. Then groups should choose one question and phrase it in such a way as to be researchable and/or testable. The following are some examples.

         How does mass affect the force that impacts the runner?

         How does cushioning material affect the impact on the runner’s body?

         How does the amount of cushioning material impact speed?

         How much cushioning material is the optimum amount?

         How can cushioning materials be incorporated into the design of a product?

         How do stress fractures result from running?

         How does a stress fracture weaken the runner?

 

Design Investigations

Choose one of these two options based on your students’ knowledge, creativity, and ability level.

 

Open Choice Approach (Copy Master pages 6-7)

Small groups might join together to agree on one question for which they will explore the answer, or each small group might explore something different. Students should brainstorm what they would have to do to answer the selected question. Then work with students to develop safe procedures that control variables and make accurate measurements. Encourage students with prompts such as the following:

         The variable we will test is….

         The variables we will control are….

         The constraints we have to design within are….

         The steps we will follow are….

         To conduct the investigation safely, we will….

 

Focused Approach (Copy Master pages 7–8)

The following exemplifies how students might investigate a question about how to incorporate cushioning materials into the design of a product such as shoes.

1.      Ask students questions such as the following to spark their thinking:

         How do running shoes reduce impact?

         Where is cushioning in running shoes?

         What kinds of cushioning materials could be used?

         How much cushioning material will be enough?

         Where would the cushioning material be placed to be useful?

2.      Students might choose to revamp an old pair of sneakers or high heels from one of the team members. If so, give them free rein in deciding what kind of shoe and what kind of cushioning materials they will use. and how they will incorporate them in the design of the shoe.

 

(page 3)

 

3.      Encourage students to brainstorm a list of possible solutions before settling on one they will try.  Students might find that after an initial attempt at a solution they need to start over with another idea.  Some might try multiple solutions at the same time. Remind them of the constraints as needed, using prompts such as the following:

         The shoe will still be wearable because….

         The shoes will be cool looking because….

4.      Students should determine a way to compare the amount of force imparted by the shoes before and after the cushioning material is added, brainstorming a list of variables as needed. They might do this by dropping masses onto the shoes before and after the redesign effort and measuring the recorded weights. Use prompts such as the following:

         We will create the force on the shoes by….

         We will measure the force by….

         The variables we will control are….

         We will make adjustments to reach a measurable reduction by….

         To conduct the investigation safely, we will….

5.      Students might continue their investigation by focusing on additional constraints, such as making the shoes waterproof.

 

Make a Claim Backed by Evidence

As students carry out their investigations, ensure they record their observations. As needed, suggest ways they might organize their data using tables or graphs. Students should analyze their data and then make one or more claims based on the evidence their data shows. Encourage students with this prompt: As evidenced by… I claim… because….

 

An example regarding depth of cushioning material might be:

As evidenced bydropping a mass onto my shoes before and after redesigning it and showing the shoe to others, I claim that the gel packs we used met the goals because the shoes were still wearable, the wearer could feel the reduction in force, and they were “cool”-looking.

 

Compare Findings

Encourage students to compare their ideas with those of others—such as classmates who investigated the same or similar questions; material they found on the Internet; experts who were interviewed; or their textbooks. Remind students to credit their original sources in their comparisons. Elicit comparisons from students with prompts such as the following:

         My ideas are similar to (or different from) those of the experts in that….

         My ideas are similar to (or different from) those of my classmates in that….

         My ideas are similar to (or different from) those that I found on the Internet in that….

 

Students might make comparisons like the following.

My ideas are similar to a product I found on the Internet. The “JelShoos” manufacturers’ claim for shoes that had gel packs inserted into a thick sole was that they kept the wearer more comfortable while looking professional.

 

Reflect on Learning

Students should reflect on their understanding, thinking about how their ideas have changed or

 

(page 4)

 

what they know now that they didn’t before. Have students respond to one of the prompts in

writing and then ask volunteers to share with the class or have partners exchange responses and ask questions of each other. Encourage reflecting using prompts such as the following:

         I claim that my ideas have changed from the beginning of this lesson because of this evidence…

         My ideas changed in the following ways…

         As I worked on this project, I wish I had spent more time on....

         One part of the investigation I am most proud of is….

 

Inquiry Assessment

See the rubric included in the student Copy Masters on page 9.

 

 

Incorporate Video into Your Lesson Plan

 

Integrate Video in Instruction

Visualize a Concept: In a discussion of air pressure, use the segment of this video showing the anti-gravity treadmill beginning at 2:24.  End after Jenny Simpson describes using the machine as “like running on the moon” at 3:24.  Discuss with students how the treadmill does not actually reduce gravity but supports the runner with air pressure. Demonstrate how air pressure can lift Jenny off the treadmill belt by placing deflated balloons under a book and watching the book rise as the balloons are inflated.

 

Make Predictions: Stop the video after you first see Jenny in the anti-gravity treadmill at 2:29. Ask several students to predict why they think the treadmill is described as “anti-gravity.” Then proceed with the video to see how their predictions compare with the explanations.

 

Using the 5E Approach?

If you use a 5E approach to lesson plans, consider incorporating video in these E’s:

Explain: Use the video for an additional example of f = ma that might resonate with some students.

Elaborate: Use the video to extend understanding about bones and joints. Suggest students research stress fractures, what they are exactly, how they form, and their impact on the body.

 

Connect to … STEM

Technology

Suggest students research other technology spinoffs from the space program, such as how nanomaterials have transformed hairstyling tools, or how weather forecasting tools can point to fishing hotspots. Some students might focus on spinoffs from research in the 70s and 80s that are now considered common, or are part of everyday goods. Students can go directly to the NASA website at http://spinoff.nasa.gov/spinoff/database to start their research. Students can search for something specific or use the Category pull-down menu to see a list in a category that interests them. Have students do short presentations, including visuals, on their findings.

 

 (page 5)

 

Use Video in Assessment

Play the segment of the video with Jenny on the treadmill (2:44–2:55) with the sound muted. Provide students with a rough sketch or screen grab of Jenny on the treadmill before (3:06) and after (3:15) the treadmill is filled with air. Then give the following instructions.

On the picture, use labeled arrows of various sizes to depict the magnitude of the forces of gravity and air pressure on Jenny.

 

 

Copy Master: Open Choice Inquiry Guide for Students

 

Science of the Summer Olympics: The Impact of Jenny Simpson

Use this guide to investigate a question about Jenny Simpson, the anti-gravity treadmill, or the impact of forces on a runner. Write your lab report in your science notebook.

 

Ask Beginning Questions

The video makes me think about these questions….

 

Design Investigations

Choose one question. How can you answer it? Brainstorm with your teammates. Write a procedure that controls variables and makes accurate measurements. Add safety precautions as needed.

         The constraints I will work within are

         The variable I will test is….

         The variables I will control are….

         The steps I will follow are….

         To conduct the investigation safely, I….

 

Record Data and Observations

Record your observations. Organize your data in tables or graphs as appropriate.

 

Make a Claim Backed by Evidence

Analyze your data and then make one or more claims based on the evidence your data shows. Make sure that the claim goes beyond summarizing the relationship between the variables.

 

My Evidence

My Claim

My Reason

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Compare Findings

Review the video and then discuss your results with classmates who investigated the same or a similar question.  Or do research on the Internet or talk with an expert. How do your findings compare? Be sure to give credit to others when you use their findings in your comparisons.

         My ideas are similar to (or different from) those of the experts in that….

         My ideas are similar to (or different from) those of my classmates in that….

         My ideas are similar to (or different from) those that I found on the Internet in that….

 

(page 6)

 

Reflect on Learning

Think about what you found out. How does it fit with what you already knew? How does it change what you thought you knew?

         I claim that my ideas have changed from the beginning of this lesson because of this evidence…

         My ideas changed in the following ways…

         As I worked on this project, I wish I had spent more time on....

         One part of the investigation I am most proud of is….

 

 

COPY MASTER: Focused Inquiry Guide for Students

 

Science of the Summer Olympics: The Impact of Jenny Simpson

Use this guide to investigate a question about incorporating cushioning materials into the design of an object. Write your lab report in your science notebook.

 

Ask Beginning Questions

How can I incorporate cushioning materials into a shoe within the design constraints?

Design Investigations

How can you answer your question? Brainstorm solutions with your teammates. Write a procedure that will enable you to meet the constraints. Add safety precautions as needed. For example, you might redesign an old pair of running shoes or high heels. How could you do that?

         The shoes I will use are….

         The kind of cushioning materials I will use are….

         The way I will test to see if I meet the constraints are….

         The variables I will control are….

         To be safe, I need to….

 

Record Data and Observations

Organize your data in tables or graphs as appropriate. Use the constraints and any “before and after” readings or documentation you have as a guide for your displays.

 

jenny eng

(page 7)

 

Make a Claim Backed by Evidence

Analyze your data and then make one or more claims based on the evidence your data shows. Make sure that the claim goes beyond summarizing the relationship between the variables.

 

My Evidence

My Claim

My Reason

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Focused Inquiry Guide continued

 

 

Compare Findings

Review the video and then discuss your results with classmates who investigated the same or a similar question.  Do research on the Internet or talk with an expert. How do your findings compare? Be sure to give credit to others when you use their findings in your comparisons.

         My ideas are similar to (or different from) those of the experts in that….

         My ideas are similar to (or different from) those of my classmates in that….

         My ideas are similar to (or different from) those that I found on the Internet in that….

 

Reflect on Learning

Think about what you found out. How does it fit with what you already knew? How does it change what you thought you knew?

         I claim that my ideas have changed from the beginning of this lesson because of this evidence…

         My ideas changed in the following ways…

         As I worked on this project, I wish I had spent more time on....

         One part of the investigation I am most proud of is….

 

(page 8)

 

 

Copy Master: Assessment Rubric for Inquiry Investigations

 

Criteria

1 point

2 points

3 points

Initial question

Question had a yes/no answer, was off topic, or otherwise was not researchable or testable.

Question was researchable or testable but too broad or not answerable by the chosen investigation.

Question clearly stated, researchable or testable, and showed direct relationship to investigation.

Investigation design

The design of the investigation did not support a response to the initial question.

While the design supported the initial question, the procedure used to collect data  (e.g., number of trials, control of variables) was not sufficient.

Variables were clearly identified and controlled as needed with steps and trials that resulted in data that could be used to answer the question.

Variables

Either the dependent or independent variable was not identified.

While the dependent and independent variables were identified, no controls were present.

Variables identified and controlled in a way that results in data that can be analyzed and compared.

Safety procedures

Basic laboratory safety procedures were followed, but practices specific to the activity were not identified.

Some, but not all, of the safety equipment was used and only some safe practices needed for this investigation were followed.

Appropriate safety equipment used and safe practices adhered to.

Observations and Data

Observations were not made or recorded, and data are unreasonable in nature, not recorded, or do not reflect what actually took place during the investigation.

Observations were made, but were not very detailed, or data appear invalid or were not recorded appropriately.

Detailed observations were made and properly recorded and data are plausible and recorded appropriately.

Claim

No claim was made or the claim had no relationship to the evidence used to support it.

Claim was marginally related to evidence from investigation.

Claim was backed by investigative or research evidence.

Findings comparison

Comparison of findings was limited to a description of the initial question.

Comparison of findings was not supported by the data collected.

Comparison of findings included both methodology and data collected by at least one other entity.

Reflection

Student reflection was limited to a description of the procedure used.

Student reflections were not related to the initial question.

Student reflections described at least one impact on thinking.

 

(page 9)

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