Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Summer Reading 2021 The Secret Science of Sports


Science may not be what comes to mind when people think of sports, but our favorite pastimes wouldn't work without STEM. Without an understanding of body science athletes wouldn't know about carbo-loading to stockpile energy before an event. No technology would mean no improvements in the materials for our golf balls or bicycles. Don't forget wearable technology like fitness trackers. What about engineering? Yes, we need that to design a more aerodynamic football or alter the shape of a tennis racket to create more of a sweet spot. But math and sports? Most emphatically, yes. How else could we track the stats of favorite players or create our own fantasy football team?

Jennifer Swanson, author of Save the Crash-test Dummies and Astronaut-Aquanaut, has put together a fascinating look into how STEM affects all areas of sports from equipment design to league standings. Illustrations and diagrams show the difference between early football helmets and today's gear, why kicking a soccer ball up makes it travel farther, or NBA field goal percentages from various spots on the court. Informative sidebars explain carbon nanotubes and how to test your reaction time. There are even suggested activities like measuring your vertical leap or testing drag in water.

Whether you know someone who is a sports enthusiast and would appreciate this look inside how it all works or a science lover who enjoys seeing concepts applied to everyday activities, this is the perfect book for middle grade readers of either sort. It will also make a great addition to science and STEM classes where teachers can pull pertinent examples to accompany lessons on gravity, friction, and other concepts.

For more information about the author's other books and projects visit jenniferswansonbooks.com or catch up with her on social media: Facebook @JenniferSwansonBooks, Twitter @JenSwanBooks, Instagram @jenswanbooks, and YouTube @jenniferswanson. Jennifer also has a podcast about how scientists, engineers, and experts solve problems. Check it out at https://solveitforkids.com/ to see the topics they have covered so far and the amazing list of guests.

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