Science of Golf: Newton’s Third

KelsieOnTheFairwayMale, female, young, old … physical workouts can be as important to low scores as club and ball design—just ask Rickie Fowler, Belen Mozo, 78-year-old Gary Player, or my college-golfer (and budding engineer) daughter who works out with an ex-NFL player twice each week. The NSTA-developed lesson plan for Science of Golf: Newton’s Third Law of Motion and Momentum gets students thinking along either line as they explore problems sparked by the NBC Learn-developed video. One of those is the increased action/reaction result of stronger core muscles. That, like other ideas in the jam-packed lesson plans might seem a bit tangential, but leading students in some less-than-obvious directions is one way to keep everyone engaged.
The 20-video Science of Golf series that NBC Learn developed in partnership with the United States Golf Association (USGA) and Chevron, brings a sport into the classroom that relatively few students and teachers participate in or observe, say, compared to baseball or even track. Yet, as a vehicle for conveying science, math, engineering, and technology, you could place it at the top of the list. Each one of the accompanying lesson plans gives you myriad ideas for highlighting STEM subjects or facilitating engineering design investigations. Afraid you won’t have the right answer for students? That’s one of the beauties of engineering design investigations—you don’t have to because there is no “right answer.” The best design is the one that performs optimally given the criteria and constraints. Chances are more than one group will end up with optimal design solutions. If so, give students a chance to critique all of the solutions and make claims based on evidence about which one they think is “best.”
Here in this lull before the back-to-school storm, stroll through these videos and others in NBC Learn’s acclaimed “Science Of…” collections. They are available cost-free on And don’t forget the lesson plans!
SOG: Newton’s Third Law explains what happens when a golfer swings a golf club and applies a big force to the small golf ball.
STEM Lesson Plan—Adaptable for Grades 4–12
SOG: Newton’s Third Law describes how students explore the effect of club weight or a golfer’s muscle strength on hitting a ball further. It also provides ideas for STEM exploration plus strategies to support students in their own quest for answers.
Image of our daughter during the NJCAA tournament, courtesy of her dad.
You can use the following form to e-mail us edited versions of the lesson plans: [contact-form 2 “ChemNow]

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