Just because the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games are over doesn’t mean the enthusiasm students brought to school in August has to be. This installment of the NBC Learn/NSF videos series Science of the Summer Olympics—Maximizing the Long Jump of Bryan Clay focuses on the decathlete’s training for just one of the ten events he hoped to compete in. While Bryan Clay failed to qualify himself, you can find footage of the two American decathletes who did using the search term “decathlon” at the NBC Olympics site.
Optimization, or the process of getting the best result given the constraints, is the focus of the NSTA-developed lessons that connect to this video. While other athletes focus on optimizing their technique for one sport, decathletes have to optimize for ten—long and high jump, shot, 110-meter hurdles, discus, pole vault, javelin and 100-, 400-, and 1500- meter runs. And all are played in just two days!
Sounds grueling. But hopefully this video/lesson package and the rest of those in the Science of the Summer Olympics series will have the opposite effect for you!
–Judy Elgin Jensen
Paralympic long jump silver medalist. Image courtesy of Ryan Taylor.
“Maximizing the Long Jump of Bryan Clay” features Bryan Clay, an Olympic Gold medalist in the decathlon, and focuses on the technology used to study his form and movement as he carries out the most technologically complex event of the decathlon—the long jump. A stereoscopic, or 3D, camera provided by BMW is used to track Clay’s every movement during a jump. Clay, his coach, and engineer and biomechanist Melvin Ramey then analyze the videos to help Clay try and improve both his speed as he approaches the take-off board and, in turn, his jumping distance.
Two versions of the lesson plans help students build background and develop questions they can explore regarding design optimization. Both include strategies to support students in their own quest for answers and strategies for a more focused approach that helps all students participate in hands-on inquiry.
SOTSO: Maximizing the Long Jump of Bryan Clay models how students might investigate a question about a projectile’s trajectory.
SOTSO: Maximizing the Long Jump of Bryan Clay, An Engineering Perspective models how students might design a launching device and use the device to test factors that influence the distance a projectile can travel.
You can use the following form to e-mail us edited versions of the lesson plans: