SCIENCE OF THE SUMMER OLYMPICS: Designing a Fast Pool - A Science Perspective (Grades 6-12) Print

Objective:

Framework for K–12 Science Education, PS3.A: Definitions of Energy, PS3.B: Conservation of Energy and Energy Transfer, PS4.A: Wave Properties, ETS1.A: Defining and Delimiting Engineering Problems, ETS1.B: Developing Possible Solutions, ETS2.A: Interdependence of Science, Engineering, and Technology


Introduction Notes:

Science of the Summer Olympics

Designing a Fast Pool

A Science Perspective (Grades 6-12)

 

Background and Planning Information

 

About the Video

Anette Hosoi, a mechanical engineer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, explains how the knowledge of waves and the energy they transfer is applied to designing competitive pools, such as those built at the London Aquatics Center for the 2012 Summer Olympics.

 

0:00     0:12     Opening Credits

0:13     0:37     Introducing the London Aquatics Center

0:38     1:07     Olympian Missy Franklin’s opinions on pool design

1:08     1:29     Definition and examples of waves

1:30     1:46     Anette Hosoi: How swimmers generate waves

1:47     2:08     Comparison of Olympic pool designs

2:09     2:23     Hosoi: How competitive pools dissipate energy

2:24     2:40     Pool depth at the Aquatics Center

2:41     2:55     Anette Hosoi and Missy Franklin: Importance of pool depth

2:56     3:12     Dissipating wave energy with surfaces

3:13     3:27     Dissipating wave energy with size

3:28     3:46     Dissipating wave energy with lane lines

3:47     4:14     Importance of a swimmer’s lane position

4:15     4:31     Summary of London Aquatics Center features

4:32     4:44     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  PS3.A: Definitions of Energy

                                                                    PS3.B: Conservation of Energy and Energy Transfer

                                                                    PS4.A: Wave Properties

Related Science Concepts

         Waves as a mechanical disturbance due to energy input

         Energy

         Energy transfer through waves

         Energy dissipation

         Turbulence in a fluid

         Wave propagation

         Absorption of energy

         Reflection

         Diffraction   

(page 1)

 

 

Connect to Engineering

Framework for K–12 Science Education

ETS1.A: Defining and Delimiting Engineering Problems

ETS1.B: Developing Possible Solutions

ETS2.A: Interdependence of Science, Engineering, and Technology

 

Engineering in Action

The engineering problems addressed in Science of the Summer Olympics (SOTSO): Designing a Fast Pool include how to design a competitive pool so that the waves created by the swimmers’ motions interfere as little as possible with their performance.  To effectively dissipate the energy moving through the water, the main competitive pool at the London Aquatics Center includes an adjustable floor, side and end troughs that “swallow” water waves, and spinning lane lines that absorb energy rather than propagating swimmers’ waves from lane to lane.  Engineers of competitive swimming pools work to test and design materials and configurations within realistic constraints, including the practicality, cost, and function of the structures in the real world, as well as the health and safety of the athletes who train and compete in the pools.

 

Modeling is an important step in the evolution of engineering designs.  Students should understand that models are not perfect representations of every aspect of the design simultaneously, but can give accurate data about certain aspects at any given time.  Several different models might be required to accurately represent all aspects of a given system.  The development of models and subsequent testing of the finished designs are part of the engineering knowledge-generating activities experimental engineering research and direct trial.

 

Take Action with Students

Help students brainstorm to form a list of some of the constraints within which engineers have to work to reduce turbulence in a competitive swimming pool.  Use the list to initiate a discussion about how other types of waves – such as light waves, sound waves, radio waves, and earthquake waves – move through different types of media.  Extend the discussion to include engineering design problems associated with objects such as sunglasses (stop certain wavelengths while still enabling enough transmission for sight); speakers (tensile strength of the material used to amplify the sound); and buildings (flexibility of materials used in earthquake-prone areas).

 

 

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 their 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 students to draw pictures of what happens to the water in the pool before, during, and after someone dives in, to start students thinking about energy and water waves.  Then begin a

 

(page 2)

 

 

discussion with students about what happens as a swimmer enters, then moves through the

water – as well as some of the factors that might affect the size of the waves that result from the swimmer’s movements.  Use prompts such as the following to spark discussion.

         When I enter a pool, I like to _____ because….

         A competitive swimmer dives into a pool at the start of a race rather than doing a cannon-ball jump because….

         To move forward in a pool, a swimmer must….

         As a swimmer moves through the water, the water….

         Swimming underwater creates _____turbulence in the water than swimming at the surface because….

         A swimmer doing the backstroke might cause _____ turbulence than a swimmer doing the _____ because….

 

Show the video SOTSO: Designing a Fast Pool.

 

Continue the discussion of some the effects of energy transfer through a fluid, using prompts such as the following:

         When I watched the video, I thought about….

         The expert in the video claimed that _____ because….

         In the past, Olympic pools were….

         Pools at the London Aquatics Center were designed to minimize….

         Lowering the main competition pool’s bottom is beneficial to swimmers because….

         Troughs along the sides of the main competition pool help swimmers by….

         The width of the pool lanes was designed so that….

         Some lanes are often left empty during competition because….

 

Ask Beginning Questions

Stimulate small-group discussion with the prompt: This video makes me think about these questions….  Have groups list questions they have about how a swimmer’s mass or movements might affect the resulting waves.  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 a swimmer’s mass affect the size of the waves he or she produces?

         How does a swimmer’s speed affect the waves he or she produces?

         How does a swimmer’s stroke affect the waves he or she produces?

 

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 to form a plan they would have to follow in order to answer the question.  Work with students to  develop safe procedures that control variables and enable them to make accurate measurements.  Encourage students with prompts such as the following:

 

(page 3)

 

         The variable I will test is….

         The variables I will control are….

         The steps I will follow are….

         To conduct the investigation safely, I….

 

Focused Approach (Copy Master pages 8–9)

The following exemplifies how students might investigate the question of how a swimmer’s mass could affect the size of the waves he or she produces.

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

         What is mass?

         What factors affect an object’s mass?

         What are some objects with similar sizes and shapes but different masses?

         What is a wave?

         How do swimmers produce waves?

2.      Students might choose to explore waves produced by moving objects with the same mass but different shapes.  Or, they might explore how objects with the same shape and size but different masses create waves of different sizes.  Give them free rein in determining how they will explore the effect of an object’s mass as it moves through water.  Examining a range of materials might help students refine their question or lead to new questions that they should record for later exploration.

3.      Ensure that students brainstorm a list of variables and determine which can be controlled and which cannot.  As needed, help them focus on their chosen variable in each trial.  Use prompts such as the following:

         The variable we will test is….

         The variables we will control are….

4.      Students might thread a table tennis ball, and a small foam ball of the same size that also floats, onto pieces of thin string and pull each at the same speed through a tub of shallow water to observe the waves created by each object.  Students might gather quantitative data by actually measuring the heights of the waves produced as each ball moves through the water, or they might videotape the motions and do a qualitative analysis of the waves produced.  Use prompts such as the following with students:

         The materials we will use are….

         We will gauge the speed of movement by….

         To conduct the investigation safely, we will….

5.      Students might continue their investigation by exploring how objects with the same mass but different shapes create waves as they move at the same speed through water.

 

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 and graphs or sketches and digital photos.  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 claim relating mass to the waves it creates might be:

As evidenced bythe waves created, I claim that objects with greater mass create larger waves than objects with lesser mass because the foam ball caused the water in the waves it created to be higher than those formed by the table tennis ball moving at the same speed, which shows that more energy was transferred from the motion of the more massive ball than from the motion of the less massive ball.

 

Compare Findings

Encourage students to compare their ideas with those of others—such as classmates who investigated the same or a similar question, material they found on the Internet, an expert they chose to interview, or their textbooks.  Remind students to credit their original sources in their comparisons. El icit 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 my classmates’ in that the data from groups that researched the same question showed similar results—objects of the same size and shape but greater masses create larger waves than objects with smaller masses.

 

Reflect on Learning

Students should reflect on their understanding, thinking about how their ideas have changed or what they know now that they didn’t before. Encourage reflection, 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….

         One concept I still do not understand involves….

         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

Bellringer:  Show the video with the sound muted, perhaps twice, as students settle for class. Have students answer a question such as: What science and engineering concepts do you think this video is about?  State three reasons that support why you think so.  Use students’ answers as a lead-in to your introduction of the waves created as these swimmers plow through the water.

 

Homework:  Introduce elite swimmers Michael Phelps (0:29) and Ryan Lochte (0:30) to students.  Inform students that when competing, Phelps typically weighs several pounds less

 

(page 5)

 

than Lochte.  Also tell students that Phelps is a few inches taller than Lochte.  Instruct students to watch the video and consider if and how these small differences in weight and height might affect the waves generated in each swimmer’s lane.

 

Using the 5E Approach?

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

Explain:  Show students a segment of several swimmers in adjacent lanes (1:01–1:04).  Then provide students with a screen grab of the video at 1:02 and ask them to use the image to explain the importance of lane position, in terms of where a swimmer ideally wants to be during an event.

Elaborate:  Use the video to elaborate on how different strokes create different disturbances in a swimming pool.  Allow students who swim competitively or regularly to share personal experiences.

 

Connect to … Social Studies / Engineering

Suggest students research recent Olympic venues – summer or winter – to find out how hosting the games impacted the economics of the area both at the time of the games and in the passing years.   As a springboard, students might listen to a story aired on National Public Radio (NPR) about the 2008 Beijing games at http://www.npr.org/2012/07/10/156368611/chinas-post-olympic-woe-how-to-fill-an-empty-nest.  Discuss with students how one factor that engineers are very concerned with as they design is sustainability – the ability for a structure, design, or object to be viable, with positive impact on the environment and economy.  In student reports or presentations, have them suggest how venues might have been designed to be more sustainable.

 

Use Video in Assessment

Play the segments of the video, with the sound muted, that show three types of technology—the moveable floor (2:29 to 2:36), the side troughs (2:55 to 3:03), and the rotating lane dividers (3:42 to 3:46)—used to reduce the effects of turbulence caused by swimmers competing in a fast pool.  Give the following instructions:

Choose two of these technologies and explain, in detail, how each reduces wave propagation.

 

 

 

Copy Master: Open Choice Inquiry Guide for Students

 

Science of the Summer Olympics: Designing a Fast Pool

Use this guide to investigate a question about how a swimmer’s mass, speed, or swim stroke affects the waves he or she generates moving through the water.  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

 

(page 6)

 

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 will….

 

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….

 

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?

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

         My ideas changed in the following ways….

         One concept I still do not understand involves….

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(page 7)

 

 

 

COPY MASTER: Focused Inquiry Guide for Students

 

Science of the Summer Olympics: Designing a Fast Pool

Use this guide to investigate a question about how the mass of a swimmer affects the waves that form as he or she moves through the water.  Write your lab report in your science notebook.

 

Ask Beginning Questions

How does the mass of an object affect the waves it generates as it moves through water?

 

Design Investigations

Brainstorm with your teammates about how to answer the question.  Write a procedure that controls variables and allows you to make accurate measurements.  Add safety precautions as needed.  Use these prompts to help you design your investigation.

         The objects I will use to model the swimmers are….

         I will create waves with the objects by….

         I will model the pool with….

         The steps I will follow to test my variable include….

         The variables I will control are….

         I will repeat each trial _____times to make sure….

         To be safe, I need to….

 

Record Data and Observations

Organize your observations and data in tables or graphs as appropriate.  The table below is an example using similar balls with different masses moving at the same speed through water.

 

Mass and Wave Height

 

 

Wave Height (mm)

Ball

Trial 1

Trial 2

Trial 3

Table tennis ball

 

 

 

Small foam ball

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(page 8)

 

Make a Claim Backed by Evidence

Analyze your data and then make one or more claims based on the evidence shown by your data.  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….

 

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….

         One concept I still do not understand involves….

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(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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