Kids learn ‘Science of Sports’ at UDPL event
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.
Making carbohydrate chains.
Breaking up the carbohydrate chain of paper clips.