Winter Olympics Science Experiments
Go for the gold with these Winter Olympics sports science experiments and science fair projects!
The XXIV Olympic Winter Games will be held in Beijing, China, February 4-20, 2022. Sports at the 2022 Winter Olympics include alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, figure skating, luge, biathlon, bobsleigh, curling, speed skating, snowboarding, ski jumping, ice hockey, skeleton, and more.
Many of these sports take place on snow or ice and involve skills related to speed, jumping, sliding, flipping, and spinning.
The Winter Olympics games are fun to watch, but all of these sports also involve science! From general physics to Newton's Laws, forces of motion, acceleration, and aerodynamics, science will be on display as athletes from around the world go for the gold.
Students interested in sports science can learn more and explore sports science questions with independent science experiments and science fair projects. We've highlighted a few science and engineering projects below that tie in with sports science and winter sports.
Friction, Speed, and Acceleration
Many winter sports involve speed! What's the relationship between friction, ice, and speed?
- Slippery Slopes and Sticking Surfaces: Explore the Forces of Friction: What role does friction play in how fast athletes go in downhill skiing or sledding events?
- Speed Quest: The difference between gold and silver might be just a few milliseconds! What is speed and how is it measured?
- How Fast Can You Shoot a Hockey Puck?: Experiment to find out how fast a hockey puck travels, how constant the speed is, and whether or not follow-through makes a difference.
Spinning, Forces, and Gravity
Not all winter sports are about speed. Many rely on balance, equilibrium, aerodynamics, and gravity.
- Balancing Act: Finding Your Center of Gravity: Learn more about the physics of balance by doing a balance experiment from a low height (like a curb). How does changing the position of your arms affect how well you balance?
- Twirls, Whirls, Spins, & Turns: The Science & Reflexes of Dizziness: Have you ever wondered how ice skaters and freestyle skiers keep from getting dizzy when performing spins and twisting jumps? Try this project to find out how your eyes, ears, and brain interact when you spin.
- Tightening the Turns in Speed Skating: Lessons in Centripetal Force & Balance: Speed skaters have to navigate turns at high speeds as they round the track. What kinds of turns work best, and what do center of gravity and centripetal force have to do with skating?
Reaction Time & the Human Body
- Think Fast!: A hockey goalie has to have good reaction time to block pucks that are hurtling to the goal at high speed! Try this experiment to discover how fast your reflexes are!
- Think Fast: Do Video Game Players Have Faster Reaction Times Than Non-Players?: Can you practice and improve reaction time? This project explores whether or not people who play video games have faster reaction time than people who don't.
Sports equipment is developed specifically to support an athlete in a particular sport. Improving equipment is something product designers and engineers work on to increase an athlete's performance and chances of edging out competitors.
- Why Are Skis So Long?: Why are skis so long? In this activity, students explore firsthand to find out why skis are the way they are and what it has to do with gravity and an object's center of mass.
- She Shoots, She Scores! How Does Hockey Stick Flex Affect Accuracy and Speed?: How does the flex of a hockey stick relate to how fast a hockey player's shots are?
- Skiing and Friction: How Does Ski Wax Affect the Sliding Friction of Skis?: How much of a difference does wax make in how skiis move on snow?
- Build Your Own Sports Equipment: What is involved in designing sports equipment? Use craft and recycled materials to design your own.
For other projects about aerodynamics related to sports, see Can Aerodynamic Suits Give U.S. Speed Skaters an Edge?.
Engineering Logistics and Getting Around
Riding a ski lift isn't technically a sport, but it's a very functional and convenient way to get to the top of a venue or mountain for skiing or other winter sports.
- Hit the Slopes: Build Your Own Ski Lift: Make a miniature model ski lift to explore the physics of this simple machine. In this engineering project, students build and test their own pulley system for transporting objects.
For another fun engineering challenge, see the Paper Ball Run Fluor Engineering Challenge!
You Might Also Enjoy These Related Posts:
- Rev Up STEM Learning with Car Science Projects
- 13 Paper STEM Activities!
- Popsicle Stick STEM Projects
- 10 STEM Activities with Cardboard Tubes
- Paper Circuits Science Projects
- Arduino Science Projects and Physical Computing
- 15+ Plant Science Activities and Lessons / Teach Plant Biology
- Star Wars STEM Activities for May the 4th Be With You Science