Saturday, June 30, 2018

LEAFLET Football

front, outside, right of leaflet


Start to learn about some basic science involved in this game.
It looks at the following questions:

What are some examples in football of potential energy and kinetic energy?

What is 'collision' and what does it have to do with football?


Quincy, Mass.

inside, left


Potential energy is energy of position or place – where you are in the right place to do the job.

Kinetic energy is energy of motion – you are now in action.

Where can you clearly observe potential energy & kinetic energy...

at the line of scrimmage?

when the quarterback is going to pass the ball?

... when the kicker is going for a point after touchdown?

inside, middle

Collision is much more than an auto accident. 
 Collision happens whenever any two objects touch each other – 
whether it's a light touch or a hard touch. It ranges from:

elastic collision (with a lot of 'give') 
inelastic (or non-elastic) collision (OUCH!, this has NO 'give'),

on a scale from 1 to 10 (see below).

Egg Toss (or Water Balloon) Contest: This is one example. 
If you throw the egg gently at close range, 
the catcher experiences elastic collision, say a 1.

On the other hand, if you throw the egg hard and at a distance, 
the egg might break (SPLAT!!) on the catcher; 
call this a 10 (completely non-elastic).

If, however, the catcher moves their hands back 
 (we call this 'giving with' the egg, or it has some 'give'), 
then it increases the distance and time – 
and may result in the egg not being broken. 
This moves it back toward the elastic range, 
and the collision might be a 7.

inside, right

Playing a water balloon or egg toss game could be a good way to learn how to minimize injuries. First of all, minimizing injury is the reason that helmets and padding are worn. More than equipment is involved in protecting against injury, though.

Knowing how to fall is another way. If a player falls hard on the ground, injury may result. However, if he can roll – thereby extending the time and distance of impact – he is more likely to emerge unharmed.

You know the boxing term,
roll with the punches?
That's about collision!

outside, left

You could think of collision as
being on a scale from 1 to 10:

elastic 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 nonelastic

My scale may help you get the idea of collision.


Sports and games are the gateway to science, and YOU hold the key!

outside, center
Playing football...

is just one of endless ways to gain an understanding of physics and geometry. I hope this leaflet introduces you to seeing things you never saw before – or wondered about but just didn't know where to start.

Physics and geometry come into play in every activity and event going on around us.
Knowing how things work can add to your performance and to your fun. So give it a try. How?

  • Start with the information here
  • You may not understand everything in it right away, but for now, use what you do understand
  • Do an online search of your own
  • See what books or videos your library has
  • Share them with friends, your class, your team, your scout troop
  • Read my blog and tell others:

Thank you! 

 Kathy Hogan

Sunday, June 10, 2018

LEAFLET: Playground Science

front:  outside, right


Start to learn about some basic science involved in

This leaflet looks at these questions:

What does gravity have to do with playgrounds?
Why do I see wood chips – or other soft material – on the ground?
How can I learn about potential energy and kinetic energy in a playground?

Quincy, Mass.

inside, left


When you decide to use the slide, you have a little WORK to do before you can enjoy the ride, right?
That WORK is you climbing up the stairs to the top of the slide.

You need to:
* Use your ENERGY to climb up
(while GRAVITY pulls you down).

* But then everything changes:
Now you can save your ENERGY
while the downward force of GRAVITY does your work –
and you just sit down and you enjoy the ride.

I call this the “Whee !” factor.
P.S. The same principle applies when sledding or coasting on snow.

inside, middle


Wood chips, rubber, or sand are some of the materials used to cushion kids from falls while in the playground. Falling on hard ground leads to injuries.


When we think of a collision, a car crash usually comes to mind.
But any time two things touch each other, there is a collision. It can be as mild as a fist bump – or as strong as something falling to the ground from a skyscraper!
You could think of collision as being on a scale from 1 to 10:

A mild collision is called an elastic collision – with a lot of “give.” A one!

The strongest collision is inelastic, or non-elastic, collision – no “give”! A ten!

Think of some collisions that you
have had; rate them from 1 to 10.

inside, right

or “Ride the Pendulum”!

That's right! A swing is a pendulum!
When the swing is raised and released, it will move freely back and forth due to the force of gravity on it. The swing continues moving back and forth without any extra outside help until friction (between the air and the swing and between the chains and the attachment points) slows it down and eventually stops it.*
    * Swinging with a pendulum, by Science Buddies, Scientific American 2.23.12
When you give a friend some help, you use two forces: PULL and PUSH               * First you pull your friend back. This is potential energy -- it's the stored  energy of position.
* Then push. This is kinetic energy -- the energy of motion.

outside, left
Use this space for notes.


Sports and games are the gateway to science,
and YOU hold the key!

outside, center
The playground...

is just one of endless places to gain an understanding of physics and geometry. I hope this leaflet introduces you to seeing things you never saw before – or wondered about but just didn't know where to start.

Physics and geometry come into play in every activity and event going on around us.
Knowing how things work can add to your performance and to your fun. So give it a try. How?

  • Start with the information here
  • You may not understand everything in it right away, but for now, use what you do understand
  • Do an online search of your own
  • See what books or videos your library has
  • Share them with friends, your class, your team, your scout troop
  • Read my blog and tell others:

Thank you! Kathy Hogan

Sunday, May 20, 2018


Image may contain: 3 people, including Kerry Hurley and Frank Hogan, people smiling
Lil Miss Sofia Hurley who opened up the Festival with the National Anthem
and Frank Hogan, helper extraordinaire,
smile for the camera in this wonderful poster/frame made by Denise Duffy.

Here is a link to the Patriot Ledger article on April 22:

We had Nobel Laureate Jack Szostak as guest speaker.  We had a contingent of Star Wars characters, too -- New England Garrison 501st Legion -- and they were the Honor Guard for Dr. Szostak as he spoke and they accompanied him outside as he was leaving the festival.

More later.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Edgerton Center at MIT: Laser Mazes

This is a link I was sent last year which I've just now checked out.  The Edgerton Center offers a number of different workshops.  Teachers bring their students there.  This workshop comes under the heading of Optics and Photography.  It's called "Laser Mazes."

Laser Mazes
11 years and up.
Teams of students are challenged to direct a laser beam through a wooden maze using mirrors. Students begin by experimenting with using mirrors to hit a bull’s-eye with laser light. 
They review concepts of angles and hypothesize about how light reflects from a surface. They determine that the angle of incidence is equal to the angle of reflection
Using this knowledge, they first model and then implement the path of the laser light through the different mazes.

NOTE:    This workshop teaches kids about light and the angle of incidence and angle of reflection, an aspect of geometry/physics that I first learned about in a wonderful video on hockey.  Learning about math and science principles through their applications in motion, light and sound is a path to really getting the big picture. IMHO.  I couldn't put that video here, but here's a link to it.  You'll find what I'm talking about around 4 minutes 30 seconds:

Science of NHL Hockey:  Hockey Geometry 

All these sports videos are terrific, put together by the National Science Foundation, in partnership with NBC Learn and NBC Sports.


Saturday, December 16, 2017

South Shore Science Festival IV -- Sat., April 21, 2018

Planning is under way now for the fourth South Shore Science Festival.  On October 20 we invited volunteers from SSSF III to a get-together at which we awarded certificates of appreciation to the people who helped to make it such a success last April.  A Power Point presentation outlined our plans and needs for SSSF IV.  You can view the presentation at our website, where there are lots of photos of the festival.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

NFL FOOTBALL EXHIBIT (temporary) .... Boston Museum of Science

The Boston Museum of Science has an NFL exhibit called Gridiron Glory that runs through January 7, 2018.  This is from the museum's website on the science that's covered.  I also found that Chronicle on WCVB pointed out that the exhibit itself does not get into the problem of brain concussions, but the museum has a lecture each day on this subject.

More to Explore in Gridiron Glory

What does it take to play football? Join Museum educators for the drop-in, hands-on activity of the day and explore some of the science and technology behind the game.
Activities are scheduled most days. Please view the daily schedulefor scheduled start times. Activities are available for 2 hours from the start time, and a typical stay is 5 to 20 minutes.  
(Here's the link:
Activity topics vary from day to day. Stop by the Information Desk for more details about scheduled activity topics for the day; morning program information is usually available by 10:15 am; afternoon programs may be updated after 1:15 pm.
Current activities in rotation include:

  • Footballs Under Pressure How do balloons, marshmallows, and, yes, footballs react under different amounts of air pressure? Use a bell jar to investigate the surprising effects of air pressure.
  • Arms Width Tall How does your arm span compare to your height? Measure yourself, identify patterns in the data, and hypothesize about how body proportions could support a professional athlete's performance.
  • Footballs in Flight How do you throw a touchdown pass? How do you kick a field goal? Investigate a variety of techniques for sending a football flying by controlling and testing variables on a miniature football launching machine.
  • Collision Course How can sports equipment protect athletes from getting injured? Explore collision physics and investigate how different materials can lessen impacts.

To save admission cost, go to your public library and reserve a pass for the day you want to go.  Let us know what you liked best!


Monday, September 25, 2017



For your science fair project this year, think of something that you really like to do. 
Do you like sports and games? 
There's a whole world out there waiting for you to discover the science behind what you love to do. 
Understanding the science can help you to play a better game. 
Here is a list I took out of Science Buddies; these are found under the Physical Science / Sports Science category. 
Just looking through the topics will give you other ideas, too. 
In their website they're rated Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced; the things you need to do the project are included.

Also -- Please see my blog entry on the Power of 10 words.  These will direct you to some basic concepts in physics and geometry for motion, sound, and light.  I think it's a good starting point.  You may find you know more about physics and geometry than you think you do.


Aerodynamics and Hydrodynamics                                    Physics

                                          Music – 
Since I began this over ten years ago, I've become interested in the physics of music and the arts, too. (And science in stories!)

Invitation:  For any kids who are close enough to Quincy, Mass. / South Shore area, we would be interested in considering your project to be one of the exhibits at the 4th South Shore Science Festival. ( We're looking for exhibits that are interactive, that is, the people who come to your table will be able to participate in some way. We can help you with that.

And for kids who live anywhere and everywhere:  Help me spread the word that this is such a great way to get a start in understanding physics -- and geometry. Thank you!

Look forward to hearing from you!

Skipping Science: An experiment in jump rope lengths

Jumping Distance

The Brain-Body Connection: Can exercise really make our brains work better?

Think Fast! (reaction time)

Bouncing Basketballs: How much energy does dribbling take?

Drag Racing in the Water

Field Goal! The science behind a perfect football kick

How Quickly Does a Tennis Ball Lose Its Bounce?

Popping an Ollie: How skateboarders + physics = A really cool trick

Speed Quest

The Biomechanics of Pitching

Under Pressure: Ball bouncing dynamics

Aerodynamics of a Football

Basketball Physics: Where does a bouncing ball's energy go?

Basketball: Will you bank the shot?

Football Field Goals: Going the distance

Heart Health: How does heart rate change with exercise?

How Do Under-Inflated Tires Affect the Difficulty of Riding a Bike?

How Far Can You Throw (or Kick) a Ball?

How Fast Can You Shoot a Hockey Puck?

How High Can You Throw a Baseball? A Tennis Ball? A Football? A Golf Ball?

Measuring Concussion Risk in Football and Other Contact Sports

Nothing But Net: The science of shooting hoops

Physics of Vibrations

Racing to Win That Checkered Flag: How do gases help?

She Shoots, She Scores! How does hockey stick flex affect accuracy?

Soccer: Geometry of goal scoring

The Physics of Cheating in Baseball

The Physics of Follow-Through

Back and Forth to Go Forward: A snake on wheels?

Balancing Act: Finding your center of gravity

Baseball Bat Debate: What's better, wood or aluminum?

Cold Pack Chemistry: Where does the heat go?

Golf Clubs, Loft Angle, and Distance: The science of hitting

Power Kicks: The physics of martial arts

Skateboard Extremes: Which wheels are best for speed and turns?

Skiing and Friction:  How does ski wax affect the sliding friction of skis?

Tee Time:  How does tee height affect driving distance?

Tee Time: How fast is your golf swing?

The Physics of Baseball and Hit Charts

Tightening the Turns in Speed Skating:  Lessons in Centripetal Force & Balance

A Cure for Hooks and Slides?  Asymmetric dimple patterns and Golf Ball Flight

Aerodynamics and Hockey: Does the force of drag have an effect on the distance the puck will travel?

Are more expensive golf balls worth it?

Basketball: The geometry of banking a basketball

Crossed Up:  Does crossed hand/eye dominance affect basketball shooting percentage?

Electrolyte Challenge: Orange juice vs sports drink

Football: Punting

Paintball Ballistics

Playing the Angles: The physics of balls bouncing off of surfaces

The Science of Spin: How does spin affect the trajectory of a kicked soccer ball?

Skating and Angular Momentum

The Science of Spin: A baseball pendulum

Which Team Batting Statistic Predicts Run Production Best?

Golf Clubs, Loft Angle and Distance