JCE Resources for Chemistry and Sports

Oct 10, 2008 - What do you envision when you hear the word “sports”? A dedicated runner might think of feet pounding the pavement, encased in a ...
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Chemical Education Today

NCW 2008: Having a Ball with Chemistry

JCE Resources for Chemistry and Sports by Erica K. Jacobsen

What do you envision when you hear the word “sports”? A dedicated runner might think of feet pounding the pavement, encased in a comfortable pair of running shoes. Avid golfers might think of the latest and greatest golf club they’ve been eyeing at the pro shop. A high school football player might think of running onto the field for the homecoming game, helmet in hand. Perhaps the armchair athlete pictures the Gatorade commercial that just broke into the game. What’s hidden in this collection of thoughts? Chemistry. It may not be evident at first glance, but the collection of articles described below can help to make the connections between chemistry and sports more obvious for both students and teachers. This annotated bibliography collects the best that past ­issues of JCE have to offer for use with the 2008 National Chemistry Week theme, “Having a Ball with Chemistry”. Each item has been characterized as an activity, calculation, demonstra-

tion, experiment, informational, or JCE Featured Molecules item; several fit more than one classification. The most recent articles are listed first. An indication of the levels the article may serve are included. Articles that appeared adaptable to other levels, but not designed explicitly for those levels, are labeled “poss. h.s.” “poss. elem.”, and so forth. Because all references are to Journal articles, they ­appear in abbreviated form, including only year, volume, page. Supporting JCE Online Material

http://www.jce.divched.org/Journal/Issues/2008/Oct/abs1331.html Abstract and keywords Full text (PDF) with links to cited URLs and JCE articles

Erica K. Jacobsen is Editor, Secondary School Chemistry, Journal of Chemical Education; [email protected].

Resources for Chemistry and Sports Research Advances: Using Geography To Increase Hemo­globin Levels; NO Levels and Exercise; Better Method for Steroid Detection; . King, A. G.; 2008, 85, 1310. Informational; coll./poss. h.s. Presents recent research related to exercise, such as studies performed on “live high-train low” athletes and a new method to test for steroids in urine.

themselves, fuel and oil testing performed at the Indianapolis 500, challenges that face drivers, and safety measures used.

May the Best Chemist Win! Williams, K. R.; 2008, 85, 1314. Informational; h.s./coll. “From Past Issues” column that describes applications of sports in chemistry, including games and puzzles.

Polymers in the Field and Track. Harris, M. E.; 2008, 85, 1323. Experiment/Informational; h.s./coll./poss. elem. Describes replacement of an old track and field with a synthetic surface, along with an investigation comparing the field’s surface temperature to the air temperature.

High Performance Chemistry: Scientists in the Fast Lane. Ruppel, T.; Turpin, J.; 2008, 85, 1316. Informational; h.s./coll. Describes the sport of open wheel racing, including the cars

Modern Sport and Chemistry: What a Golf Fanatic Should Know. McKay, S. E.; Robbins, T.; Cole, R. S.; 2008, 85, 1319. Informational; h.s./coll. Describes the materials used in golf balls and clubs, and the effect of modern materials on the style of professional players.

Impact of Polymers in Impact Sports. Van Natta, S.; Williams, J. P.; 2008, 85, 1326. Activity/Informational; h.s./coll. Discusses the design and testing of sports helmets and describes

JCE Featured Molecules…

lexan polycarbonate kevlar

Polymers used in sports equipment

polypropylene, straight polystyrene (12 units)

© Division of Chemical Education  •  www.JCE.DivCHED.org  •  Vol. 85  No. 10  October 2008  •  Journal of Chemical Education


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NCW 2008: Having a Ball with Chemistry photos by J. W. Moore and R. J. Wildman

photo by Laura Hagen

Various polymers are used in the construction of sports helmets, depending on the different impacts encountered in a praticular sport

activities that allow students to test polymers that might be used for different parts of a helmet. News from Online: The Chemistry of Sports. Tomasik, J. H.; 2008, 85, 1334. Informational; h.s./coll. Describes online resources for learning about the chemistry of sports, including materials used in sports equipment, and the chemistry of our athletic biological systems. That’s the Way the Ball Bounces (or Is It?) JCE Editorial Staff; 2008, 85, 1376A. Activity; all levels Students investigate the properties of “happy”, “unhappy”, and “super” balls under different temperature conditions. JCE Featured Molecules. Coleman, W. F.; http://www.JCE. DivCHED.org/JCEWWW/Features/MonthlyMolecules/ (accessed Jul 2008). JCE Featured Molecules; h.s./coll. Fully manipulable (Jmol) versions of many monomers and polymers used in sports are available at the above URL including Jul 02: monomer of Kevlar; Nov 03: polystyrene; Apr 04: Lexan polycarbonate. Additional polymers appear in this month’s Featured Molecules column discussed on p 1456 and found online. Chemical Speciation Analysis of Sports Drinks by Acid– Base Titrimetry and Ion Chromatography: A Challenging Beverage Formulation Project. Drossman, H.; 2007, 84, 124. Experiment; coll. Students analyze commercially available sports drinks by titrimetric analysis and ion chromatography. Subject of letter to the editor: Chemical Speciation and Calculation of pH of a Sport Drink. Segura, J. L. G.; 2008, 85, 371. Discrepant Event: The Great Bowling Ball Float-Off. Mason, D.; Griffith, W. F.; Hogue, S. E.; Holley, K.; Hunter, K.; 2004, 81, 1309.

Experiment; h.s./coll. An open-ended investigation centered on determining mathematically whether a bowling ball will sink or float in water. Includes additional interactive discussion questions. Bowling for Density! Holley, K.; Mason, D.; Hunter, K.; 2004, 81, 1312A. Activity; h.s./coll. Students predict whether a given bowling ball will float or sink in water based on measurements of radius and weight to determine the density, and then test their prediction. Modern Sport and Chemistry: What a Chemically Aware Sports Fanatic Should Know. Giffin, G. A.; Boone, S. R.; Cole, R. S.; McKay, S. E.; Kopitzke, R.; 2002, 79, 813. Informational; h.s./coll. Discusses the impact of chemistry and technology on sports equipment, sports medicine, supplements, and even items for the “armchair athlete”. HPLC Determination of Taurine in Sports Drinks. Orth, D. L.; 2001, 78, 791. Experiment; coll. Students analyze the taurine in sports drinks. It uses a pre-column derivatization and HPLC analysis. Bioanalytical Experiments for the Undergraduate Laboratory: Monitoring Glucose in Sports Drinks. Gooding, J. J.; Yang, W.; Situmorang, M.; 2001, 78, 788. Experiment; coll. Presents two three-hour bioanalytical experiments to analyze glucose concentrations in sports drinks. The first uses a solution-based enzyme assay and the second uses an enzyme electrode. Weak vs Strong Acids and Bases: The Football Analogy. Silverstein, T. P.; 2000, 77, 849. Informational; h.s./coll. Analogy that illustrate the difference between weak and strong acids and bases that likens acids and bases to football players.

photo by Hal Harris

photo by Diana S. Mason

Polymers are used to make the “grass” of artificial turf.


Several experiments analyze sports drinks for different components.

Will a bowling ball float in water? Students can collect data to find out.

Journal of Chemical Education  •  Vol. 85  No. 10  October 2008  •  www.JCE.DivCHED.org  •  © Division of Chemical Education 

The final-leg relay runner for Wisconsin. (Image licensed under Creative Commons attribution ShareAlike.)

A Demonstration of Ideal Gas Principles Using a Football. Bare, W. D.; Andrews, L; 1999, 76, 622. Demonstration; h.s./coll. Uses a football and a real life allegation of cheating to present gas law problems suitable for cooperative learning activities. Using Balls from Different Sports To Model the Variation of Atomic Sizes. Pinto, G.; 1998, 75, 725. Demonstration/Experiment; h.s./coll. Describes an analogy and student assignment that uses actual sports balls to as a 3-D illustration of various aspects of atomic sizes. A Study of the pH of Perspiration from Male and Female Subjects Exercising in the Gymnasium. A Practical Challenge for Students in the Nonscience Major Class. Doran, D.; Tierney, J.; Varano, M.; Ware, S.; 1993, 70, 412. Experiment; h.s./coll. Students tested for differences between the pH of male and female sweat to challenge claims made in a deodorant advertisement. Weight-Average Molecular Weights: How To Pick a Football Team. Pilar, F. L.; 1992, 69, 280. Informational; coll. Illustrates the concept of weight-average molecular weights by comparing potential members of a football team. Enzyme Activity: The Ping-Pong Ball Torture Analogy. Helser, T. L.; 1992, 69, 137. Informational; coll./poss. h.s. Describes an analogy to illustrate the effect of reaction conditions on the initial rate of an enzyme-catalyzed reaction. The Hare and the Tortoise. An Apocryphal Closer Look at the Famous Race with a Discussion of Running Rates and Orders. Larsen, R. D.; 1984, 61, 1046.

photo courtesy Kip Janvrin

photo by [email protected]

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Olympic decathlete Kip Janvrin illustrates the great strength and flexibility of a modern polevaulting pole.

Informational; h.s./coll. Discusses the use of the story of the Tortoise and the Hare and running to illustrate rates of chemical reactions. An All-Star Chemist Baseball Team. Feldman, M.; 1980, 57, 452. Informational; h.s./coll. Lists major league baseball players who have the same last name as Nobel Laureates in chemistry. The Kinetics of Running. Larsen, R. D.; 1979, 56, 651. Informational; h.s./coll. Uses the analysis of running as a rate process to illustrate kinetics. Energy and Exercise (A six-part Interface Series). I: How Much Work Can a Person Do? Bent, H. A.; 1978, 55, 456. II: Caloric Costs of Mass Transport. 1978, 55, 526. III: Heart Work. 1978, 55, 586. IV: Energy Storage Problems. 1978, 55, 659. V: Limiting Reagents. 1978, 55, 726. VI: Reactions for Every Occasion. 1978, 55, 796. Calculation/Informational; h.s./coll. Illustrates calculations and examples of power generated by humans and calories used, exercise required for weight loss, and muscle fiber synthesis and use. Happy and Unhappy Balls: Neoprene and Polynorbornene. Kauffman, G. B., Mason, S. W., Seymour, R. B.; 1990, 67, 198. Activity; all levels Describes investigations to perform with two balls. Based on observed properties, students can suggest applications, such as in sports. Subject of letters to the editor: Rolling Happy and Unhappy Balls and Their Coefficients of Friction. Nicholson, L.; 1993, 70, 867 and Storey, R. F., Seymour, R. B., Kauffman, G. B.; 1993, 70, 868. 3 Basketballs = 1 Mole of Ideal Gas at STP. Jardine, F. H.; 1977, 54, 112. Calculation; h.s./coll. Presents a calculation showing that the volume of 3 basketballs is 22.4 L. Play Ball in Chemistry. Cope, F. F.; 1924, 1, 181. Activity; h.s. Describes an in-class “chemistry baseball league” where class work scores are used as team and game scores.

Students can relate the radii measurements of actual sports balls to the atomic radii of different elements.

© Division of Chemical Education  •  www.JCE.DivCHED.org  •  Vol. 85  No. 10  October 2008  •  Journal of Chemical Education