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The Science Of Lance ArmstrongThe-Science-Of-Lance-Armstrong

  • Subject: Technology
  • |
  • Grade(s): 9-12
  • |
  • Duration: Two class periods

Lesson Plan Sections

Objectives


Students will
  • Learn that science is essential in athletic training, equipment, and competition.
  • Research and summarize three examples of sports science that could be used by an athlete
    in a specific sport.
  • Explain various ways that new technologies have changed sports.
  • Discover the variety of careers in the field of sports science.

Materials


  • The Science of Lance Armstrong program
  • Computer with Internet access
  • Print resources about sports science

Procedures


Physiology Equipment Psychology Training/Strategy
Heart: Heart can pump more blood per minute and beat more times than the average heart, making it a third more effective than an average man?s. Wind tunnel: Used to test aerodynamics of bikes, body position helmet, and even clothing. Determination: Hunger to win, especially after comeback from cancer. Body position: Entire body is carefully positioned to reduce aerodynamic drag.
Body weight: He was 20 pounds lighter after cancer, but with the same strength. Clothing: "Dimpled" texture on parts of shirt and lower back seam reduce drag.

Pain: Ability to overcome pain.

Drafting: Technique in which teammates block the wind to reduce wind drag.
Lungs: Has very high lung efficiency and aerobic capacity. (He extracts more oxygen from every breath and uses it to generate more power than the average person.) At high altitudes, doesn?t lose oxygen uptake capability as fast as other riders. Bike frame: Strong, lightweight, stiff frame made of carbon fiber.

Focus: Getting ?in the zone?

Echelon: Technique of riding in a wing formation when wind is coming from the side.
Muscles: Produce less lactic acid than most; body eliminates lactic acid more efficiently. Use computers to create virtual prototypes and test bikes in a virtual wind tunnel.

Willpower: The dedication to train long and hard, especially in difficult conditions.

Early training: Started training hard and long in his early teens as a triathlete.
  Tires (tubulars): Aged several years in a cellar so they?re soft and supple. Confidence Intense training: Trains long and hard, often riding 450 miles a week.
  Time-trial bikes: Different shapes of frame, position, handlebar, and wheels to reduce drag. Goal setting Altitude training: Trains and recovers at higher altitudes to increase his oxygen-carrying capacity.
  Climbing bikes: As light as possible (100 grams lighter than regular tour bike).   Domestiques, people who pick up food, water, rain jackets, things Lance needs.
  Radio: Tiny, lightweight two-way radio used by riders and coaches to communicate during races.    
  1. After watching the video, review some of the reasons behind Lance Armstrong's success in cycling. List students' answers in a chart with four categories: Physiology, Psychology, Equipment, Training/Strategy. (An interactive overview of some of Lance's physiology and high-tech equipment can be found online byclicking here.) The chart below lists possible answers:
     
  2. Explain that each example reflects different aspects of sports science. As students can see in the chart, sports science can touch on many different branches of science, such as technology, engineering, physics, biology, psychology, and medicine/health. Ask students to brainstorm their own examples of sports science. For example:
    • The physics of a curveball
    • New materials in tennis rackets
    • "Fast ice" in hockey
    • Swim suits that reduce drag
    • High-altitude training to increase lung capacity
    • Mentally visualizing a win before a competition
    • New "slapskates" used in speed skating (blade unhinges from boot)
    • The best diet for competitive athletes
    • The most effective weight lifting for specific sports
  3. Tell students that they will choose one sport and research three examples of sports science that an athlete in that sport might use. Some examples may be specific to the sport, while others might be applicable to any competitive sport. For example, they might look at the technology behind new equipment, the physics behind a specific strategy or skill, the physiology involved in training, or the psychology of preparing for a game. At least one example should reflect the use and impact of new technologies on the sport. Tell students that their assignment it to summarize their findings in a fictional letter as a coach giving advice to an athlete. The following Web sites provide a wealth of information about different aspects of sports science:
  4. When students have completed their letters, have students exchange their letters with two or three other students. What were some of the most interesting examples of sports science they encountered? What were some of the ways that new technologies have changed sports?
  5. To conclude the lesson, discuss examples of careers in sports science. What degrees or training do they think would be involved in these careers? You may want to ask students to choose one career that sounds most interesting them and investigate the necessary education and training involved, as well as different job opportunities available.

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Evaluation


Use the following three-point rubric to evaluate students' work during this lesson.
  • Three points:  Students shared several examples of the science behind Lance Armstrong's physiology, equipment, psychology, and training; provided more than one example of sports science in a different sport; clearly and accurately described three examples of sports science that could be used by an athlete in a specific sport; explained how new technologies have changed a sport; shared at least one example of a career in sports science.
  • Two points:  Students shared a few examples of the science behind Lance Armstrong's physiology, equipment, psychology, and training; provided one example of sports science in a different sport; clearly described three examples of sports science that could be used by an athlete in a specific sport; explained how new technologies have changed a sport; shared one example of a career in sports science.
  • One point:  Students shared few or no examples of the science behind Lance Armstrong's physiology, equipment, psychology, and training; did not provide any examples of sports science in a different sport; provided an unclear or inaccurate descriptions of three examples of sports science that could be used by an athlete in a specific sport; did not explain how new technologies have changed a sport; did not share any examples of a career in sports science.

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Vocabulary


aerodynamic
Definition: Designed to reduce air resistance
Context: In the wind tunnel, the team attempts to tweak the cyclist's aerodynamic positions by measuring their drag.

carbon fiber
Definition: A very strong, lightweight synthetic thread made by burning acrylic fibers; used to reinforce materials such as metal
Context: The most significant revolution in bicycle construction came with the use of carbon fiber in frames and wheels, which was borrowed from the aerospace industry.

drafting
Definition: A technique in which cycling teammates block the wind, especially for the team leader
Context: When you consider that wind tunnel tests have shown that 80 percent of a rider's energy is spent cutting through the air, you can see just how crucial drafting is.

drag
Definition: A force acting on a body that slows motion
Context: Even what might seem like minor position changes, like an extended thumb or elbow or a slightly higher stance in the saddle, contribute significantly to wind drag.

lactic acid
Definition: An organic substance produced in muscle tissue as a result of the breakdown of carbohydrates
Context: At increasing levels of intensity, muscles create lactic acid, which accounts for the punishing burn associated with great levels of exertion.

physiology
Definition: The study of the internal workings and processes of living things, such as how an organism breathes, gets energy, or reproduces
Context: Lance began to pay particular attention to his own physiology, using a battery of very specific tests to improve his performance.

triathlete
Definition: Someone who competes in a triathlon, a long distance race of three events, usually swimming, biking, and running
Context: A professional at the age of 15, Lance Armstrong started as a triathlete.

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Academic Standards


Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning (McREL)
McREL?s Content Knowledge: A Compendium of Standards and Benchmarks for K-12 Education addresses 14 content areas. To view the standards and benchmarks,click here.
This lesson plan addresses the following national standards:
  • Science - Physical Sciences: Understands the structure and properties of matter; Understands forces and motion
  • Science - Life Sciences: Understands the structure and function of cells and organisms
  • Science - Nature of Science: Understands the scientific enterprise
  • Technology: Understands the nature of technological design

National Academy of Sciences
The National Academy of Sciences provides guidelines for teaching science in grades K?12 to promote scientific literacy. To view the standards,click hereto visit the Web site.
This lesson plan addresses the following national standards:

  • Life Science
  • Physical Science
  • Science in Technology
  • History and Nature of Science

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