SCIENCE OF THE SUMMER OLYMPICS: Missy Franklin & Fluid Dynamics - An Engineeering Perspective (Grades 6-12) Print

Objective:

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


Introduction Notes:

Science of the Summer Olympics

Missy Franklin & Fluid Dynamics

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

Timothy Wei, Dean of the College of Engineering at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, applies concepts of fluid dynamics to “engineering” the strokes of elite swimmers, including Olympic swimmer Missy Franklin, in much the same way as engineers design cars and airplanes to move through the fluid atmosphere.

 

0:00     0:12     Opening Credits

0:13     0:54     Introducing Missy Franklin

0:55     1:14     Advantages of body size in thrust and drag

1:15     2:02     Timothy Wei: engineering of a swimmer’s stroke

2:03     2:26     Stroke in action: frictional (viscous) drag

2:27     2:51     Stroke in action: pressure drag

2:52     3:09     Stroke in action: wave drag

3:10     3:32     Stroke in action: thrust

3:33     3:55     Thrust actions of hands and feet

3:56     4:23     Technique to reduce drag: streamlining

4:24     4:49     Uniqueness of swimmer’s stroke and summary

4:50     4:59     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

Related Science Concepts

         Aerodynamics

         Air as a fluid

         Bernoulli’s principle

         Drag—frictional, pressure, wave

         Fluid dynamics and friction

         Streamlining

         Thrust

 

(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 engineering problem addressed in Science of the Summer Olympics (SOTSO): Missy Franklin & Fluid Dynamics is how to design a swimming stroke that takes advantage of a swimmer’s physical features. Missy Franklin has been known to describe her size 13 feet as “flippers” because they are so large. Individuals who do not have the same physical features might add equipment to enable them to swim more effectively.

 

Engineers at a sporting goods company might be presented with a problem involving the optimum size and shape of flippers to help people increase the surface area of their feet, and thus swim more efficiently. Discuss with students how they would go about solving the problem. Point out that engineers go through a series of design stages, beginning with “blue sky” brainstorming, in which any and all ideas are put on the table. Creativity is very important at this stage. As they progress through various stages of defining constraints – such as materials, costs, weight, flexibility, and testing the designs – the options will be narrowed until the most cost-effective solution for the problem is defined. In the case of flippers, that solution can differ among the companies seeking a solution.

 

Take Action with Students

Encourage students to explore solutions to a problem related to swim flipper 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 design – for example, that the end product must be made of a narrow selection of materials, be of a certain maximum length, and increase water displacement by 20% or more.

 

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 7.

 

Explore Understanding

Discuss with students the parallels between the shapes of objects and how easily an object of a given shape can move through a fluid such as air or water. Use prompts such as the following to start students talking:

         People dive with arms pointed in front instead of doing a “belly flop” because….

         A dolphin’s shape helps it swim more quickly than a sea turtle because….

         A skydiver’s motion changes when the parachute opens because….

 

Show the video SOTSO: Missy Franklin & Fluid Dynamics.

 

(page 2)

 

Continue the discussion, focusing on the parallels between Missy Franklin’s “structure” and that of other streamlined objects or animals. Students might make comparisons among airplanes, submarines, whales, sharks, penguins, automobiles, and so on. Help students recall some of the engineering problems that Missy, as a swimmer – and other objects or animals moving through a fluid, such as air or water – must overcome.  Use prompts such as the following:

         When I watched the video I thought about….

         The expert in the video claimed that _____ because….

         The plane moving through air is like a swimmer moving through water in that….

         Shape impacts how an object moves through a fluid by….

         Missy Franklin shows streamlining by….

         Wave drag impacts a swimmer by….

         Fluid friction causes….

 

Ask Beginning Questions

Stimulate small-group discussion with the prompt: This video makes me think about these questions…. Then have students work in small groups to list questions they have about factors that influence how Missy (or something else), moves through a fluid. 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 speed of the swimmer?

         Will a spherical airplane move as easily through air as a cylindrical one?

         Are bigger swim flippers necessarily better?

         How does an object’s shape influence wave drag?

 

Design Investigations

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

 

Open Choice Approach (Copy Master pages 7-8)

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. Be sure students define the constraints within which they are designing. 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 steps we will follow are….

         To conduct the investigation safely we will….

 

Focused Approach (Copy Master pages 8–9)

The following exemplifies how students might investigate a solution to the problem of the optimum size of flippers to increase swimming efficiency.

 

(page 3)

 

1.      Tell students that Missy Franklin often calls her feet her “personal flippers.” Ask students questions such as the following to spark their thinking:

         Why does Missy seem to think that flippers might be better than feet?

         How might size make a difference?

         What shape are feet?

         How might shape make a difference?

         What kinds of shapes could you use for flippers?

         Does the length of the toes on the feet make a difference?

2.      Students might choose to explore different sizes of “flippers.” If so, give them free rein in coming up with what their flippers look like and how they will test them for adherence to the design constraints.

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:

         We chose this material because….

         The flippers will displace 20% or more water if we….

4.      Students should determine a way to compare displacement by the different-sized flippers. They might use a ripple tank or create an overflow tank from a small dishpan and larger tray. They could then move flippers of the same shape but different sizes through the water and measure how much water is displaced by each flipper. Use prompts with students such as the following:

         The materials we will use to hold and catch the displaced water are….

         We will measure the amount of displaced water by….

         To conduct the investigation safely we will….

5.      Students could also do a qualitative analysis of displacement of air, feeling the “amount” of air moved by each flipper. Using the flippers to move tissue-paper confetti could add a quantitative aspect to their data. Use prompts such as the following to help students visualize their investigation:

         We will move the flipper by….

         We will measure the amount of displaced air by….

         To conduct the investigation safely, we will…

6.      Students might continue their investigations by focusing on the variable of shape or changing the constraints, such as increasing water displacement by 50%.

 

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….

(page 4)

 

An example regarding flipper size might be:  As evidenced by displacing water with flippers of three different sizes, I claim that using larger flippers increases swimming effectiveness because the larger the flipper the more water was moved.

 

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 what I found on the Internet. In researching scuba fins, I found that some people might swim better with smaller fins due to lesser strength of their leg muscles. But for people who have strong leg muscles, larger fins are more efficient in moving water. This would support that having larger feet would enable one to swim faster.

 

Reflect on Learning

Students should reflect on their understanding; on how their ideas might have changed, or what they know now that they didn’t before.  Ask groups to make short presentations about their investigations and encourage questions from the audience on the presenters’ thinking process as well as their procedures and results. Encourage reflection, using prompts such as the following:

         My ideas have changed from the beginning of this lesson because of this evidence…

         My ideas changed in the following ways…

         When thinking about the claims made by the expert, I am confused about...

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

 

Inquiry Assessment

See the rubric included in the student Copy Masters on page  10.

 

Incorporate Video into Your Lesson Plan

 

Integrate Video in Instruction

Make Predictions: Introduce the four factors of the stroke as described in the video. Stop the video just after each term appears onscreen (frictional drag—2:12, pressure drag—2:32, wave drag—2:57, and thrust—3:12) . Ask several students to predict how that factor impacts the swimmer’s stroke. Students might view the rest of the clip on mute, describing what they think is happening. Have one or two recorders make notes on the board or chart paper. Then watch the clip again with the sound. Stop at the very end to evaluate students’ predictions and to summarize.

(page 5)

 

Review:  Project the video on an interactive whiteboard. Stop the video at different points, such as at 4:02. At that point, have volunteers sketch and label the various impacts to the stroke—frictional drag, wave drag, pressure drag, and thrust—on the swimmers.

 

Using the 5E Approach?

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

Engage: Use the video to engage students in ways the science concepts of fluids, friction, drag, and thrust are involved in engineering efforts. Students may have difficulty imagining the “engineering” of a motion such as a swimming stroke. Point out that it is similar to perfecting a golf swing or a free throw, or identifying the most efficient way to move materials in a factory. For instance, see Amory Lovin’s suggestions for reducing friction in pipes through integrated design. Copy and paste the following URL into your browser: http://www.ted.com/talks/amory_lovins_a_50_year_plan_for_energy.html (16:00–17:30)

Explore: Encourage students to explore solutions to a problem related to thrust using the Design Investigations section of the Inquiry Outline as a guide.

 

Connect to … STEM

Technology / Debate

One blogger was curious whether the 43 new world records set during the 2009 World Swimming Championships were the result of technology or training. What do you think?

Challenge the class to hold a debate on the topic: Advanced technology is the reason why so many swimmers are breaking records and earning medals.

 

Divide the class into three teams: one that will argue in favor of the stated topic, one that will argue against it, and one that will act as the audience. Have students work together on ideas to support their team’s arguments, and to refute the other team’s likely arguments. The audience might do research about the topic in order to ask relevant questions. Hold the debate by allowing for arguments and rebuttals, back and forth, until all members of both teams have had the opportunity to speak at least once. When the debate has ended, ask the audience to determine which team “won” and why.  Remind students to base their votes on evidence presented in the debate only, not their personal opinions on the topic that was debated. Was there one specific argument that convinced them that one team won? Students might use some of the following as springboards for their arguments.

         http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/12/sports/olympics/12records.html

         http://www.swimmingtechnology.com/

         http://www.sptimes.com/News/082700/Sports/Technology_helping_sw.shtml

         http://www.usaswimming.org/DesktopDefault.aspx

         http://www.swimsmooth.com/

 

(page 6)

 

Use Video in Assessment

Explain to students that they will use the concepts from the video to justify air as a fluid. Show

the video, perhaps as many as two to three times. Have students write a short paragraph as

justification, and diagram the impact of atmosphere as a fluid on airplanes. You might make the video transcript available to those with limited English proficiency. Click the Transcript tab on the side of the video, then copy and paste into a document for student reference.

 

Copy Master: Open Choice Inquiry Guide for Students

 

Science of the Summer Olympics: Missy Franklin & Fluid Dynamics

Use this guide to investigate a question about Missy Franklin, or the movement of a swimmer or other object, through a fluid. 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 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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(page 7)

 

 

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) what 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…

         When thinking about the claims made by the expert, I am confused about...

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

 

 

 

COPY MASTER: Focused Inquiry Guide for Students

 

Science of the Summer Olympics: Missy Franklin & Fluid Dynamics

Use this guide to investigate a question about density and the movement of a swimmer or other object through a fluid. Write your lab report in your science notebook.

 

Ask Beginning Questions

How does flipper size impact swimming efficiency?

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 use flippers of various sizes and measure how much water or air is moved by each size. How could you do that?

         The medium in which I will move the flippers is….

         The materials I will use to hold and catch the displaced water or air are….

         The other materials I need are….

         I will measure the amount of displaced water or air by….

         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. The table and graph below are examples for using flippers of different sizes.

 

(page 8)

 

Relationship of Size and Fluid Displacement

 

Amount of Water Moved

Flipper Size

Trial 1

Trial 2

Trial 3

Large

 

 

 

Medium

 

 

 

Small

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(page 9)

 

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 10)

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