Science of Golf: potential and kinetic energy

For the first time ever, the women are playing their U.S. Open on the same course as the men. Watch 2010 U.S. Women’s Open champ Paula Creamer in Science of Golf: Potential and Kinetic Energy to see the energy transformations they’ll use to power the ball down the tricky course. Creamer says, “You’re so much in control of what you do…” so even though most women don’t drive the ball as far as the men, look for the competition to be every bit as fierce.
This video is one of ten to further your STEM efforts, brought to you by the partnership of NBC Learn, the United States Golf Association (USGA), Chevron, and NSTA. The NSTA-developed lesson plans for these latest additions all focus on engineering design practices—in this case building a better golf ball or golf club face. If your students don’t have a lot of experience with golf equipment, head over to the nearest garage sale or your local used sporting goods resale shop. Used clubs and balls can be had for very low cost. Or check in with a nearby golf course. People leave behind clubs and balls on the course all the time and they might just have some unclaimed ones to give you.
Find the series—available cost-free—on You can also use the links below to access the video or grab the lesson plans (in Word format for easy editing). We look forward to hearing from you about how you expect to use the videos as well as how the lesson plan works out in practice with your students. Once you try it out, please leave comments below each posting!
SOG: Potential and Kinetic Energy features energy transformations and Creamer’s technique, which allows her to get more energy into her swing.
STEM Lesson Plan—Adaptable for Grades 7–12
SOG: Potential and Kinetic Energy guides students in the design of a golf ball covering or club face that optimizes the transfer of energy. It also provides ideas for STEM exploration plus strategies to support students in their own quest for answers as well as a more focused approach that helps all students participate in hands-on inquiry.
Image of Paula Creamer courtesy of Secret in the Dirt.
You can use the following form to e-mail us edited versions of the lesson plans: [contact-form 2 “ChemNow]

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