Kids learn ‘Sci­ence of Sports’ at UDPL event

Springfield Sun - - NEWS - By Linda Finarelli lfinarelli@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @lk­finarelli on Twit­ter

UP­PER DUBLIN » Bal­anc­ing on one foot, do­ing a stand­ing long jump and run­ning “block” races were among the ac­tiv­i­ties at the Sci­ence in the Sum­mer en­rich­ment pro­gram at the Up­per Dublin Pub­lic Li­brary June 21.

This year’s pro­gram, the Sci­ence of Sports, rep­re­sents the first time in more than a decade that a new topic has been in­tro­duced for the free, two-day sci­ence pro­gram spon­sored by the re­search-based phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal and health care com­pany GSK.

Ad­min­is­tered in the Philadel­phia re­gion by The Franklin In­sti­tute and hosted in lo­cal li­braries, the pro­gram was started 30 years ago in an ef­fort “to en­gage ele­men­tary stu­dents in sci­ence, tech­nol­ogy, en­gi­neer­ing and math­e­mat­ics (STEM) learn­ing at an early age,” ac­cord­ing to a GSK news re­lease.

“We hope that GSK Sci­ence in the Sum­mer classes con­tinue to in­spire chil­dren to ex­plore the won­ders of sci­ence, as an aca­demic pur­suit now and a pos­si­ble ca­reer path later,” Marti Skold-jor­dan, GSK man­ager of com­mu­nity part­ner­ships, said in the re­lease.

The Sci­ence of Sports fo­cus is on phys­i­cal fit­ness, nu­tri­tion and men­tal fit­ness, Michael Podol­sky, the sci­ence teacher serv­ing as the in­struc­tor at the UD Li­brary, said prior to the be­gin­ning of the af­ter­noon class for stu­dents en­ter­ing grades four to six — a morn­ing ses­sion was for sec­ond- and third-graders.

Podol­sky said plans for the day in­cluded phys­i­cal chal­lenges: bal­anc­ing, long jump and block run; STEM pro­files in sports — chemists, nutritionists, statis­ti­cians, and other sci­en­tists who work be­hind the scenes; fol­lowed by hand­son learn­ing about car­bo­hy­drates, pro­teins and fats and “how ath­letes use them,” wrap­ping up the day with mak­ing a sports drink.

The cul­mi­nat­ing sci­ence les­son on the sec­ond day would be mak­ing a bouncy ball with glue and bo­rax, “sim­i­lar to slime,” but adding corn­starch, he said.

“We’re go­ing to talk about what an ath­lete needs to do to be phys­i­cally fit,” Podol­sky told the stu­dents when the ses­sion be­gan.

Soon they were try­ing to bal­ance on one foot and walk a taped line on the floor with their eyes closed and try­ing tree and war­rior yoga stances. Af­ter three tries at a stand­ing broad jump, the stu­dents learned to cal­cu­late the av­er­age and got into the sta­tis­tics be­hind Land­ing the stand­ing long jump. sports.

Podol­sky then ex­plained how chemists “test ma­te­ri­als be­hind the scenes” and how “ath­letes rely on nutritionists to cre­ate meals for them … to get the most en­ergy out of food.”

“It’s very fun, in­ter­est­ing,” said Sam, a ris­ing sixth-grader at Jar­ret­town Ele­men­tary, dur­ing a brief break. “It’s in­ter­est­ing the dif­fer­ent ca­reers and what they do.”

“I’ve learned a cou­ple things about sci­ence,” said Maple Glen ris­ing fifth­grader James.

“It’s re­ally fun and in­ter­est­ing — what ath­letes need,” said Han­nah, a ris­ing fifth-grader at Shady Grove Ele­men­tary who likes to “play a lot of sports.”

“It’s fun do­ing the races and meet­ing peo­ple,” said ris­ing Gwyn-nor fourth­grader Maya, whose fa­vorite sport is base­ball.

“It’s fun to make new friends,” agreed Nolan, a ris­ing sixth-grader at Thomas Fitzwa­ter Ele­men­tary.

Soon they were mak­ing model car­bo­hy­drates with pa­per clips, and learn­ing about elec­trolytes and why ath­letes need sports drinks.

Af­ter the first step in mak­ing a sports drink — wa­ter, sugar with a pinch of salt — Han­nah took a sip.

“It tastes like wa­ter,” she said.

Do­ing jump­ing jacks for phys­i­cal fit­ness.

Busy mak­ing chains of pa­per clips to sym­bol­ize car­bo­hy­drates.

Hav­ing fun dur­ing the block run.

Tak­ing a sip of home­made sports drink.

Sci­ence in­struc­tor Michael Podol­sky leads the stu­dents in do­ing a war­rior yoga stance.

PHO­TOS BY LINDA FINARELLI — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Mak­ing car­bo­hy­drate chains.

Break­ing up the car­bo­hy­drate chain of pa­per clips.

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