Out-of-This-World Olympics
A girl wearing a winter coat and a hat stands next to the words How is a snowboarder like an astronaut? as a snowboarder flies through the air in the background
What do the Olympics and space exploration have in common? As it turns out, quite a bit. But, perhaps most importantly for educators, you can use both to excite your students about science, technology, engineering and mathematics!

Image to left: Hannah Teter, a member of the 2006 U.S. Olympic snowboarding team, will make her debut in the halfpipe. Credit: NASA

As your students watch the 2006 Winter Olympics, they may not notice they are seeing the laws of physics in action. NASA has created materials to explain how various sports are governed by the same scientific principles students learn about in school -- and that the same rules apply to everything from a competitive snowboarder to a spacecraft landing on the moon.

A man in a red sweatshirt stands next to the words Why does NASA launch from Florida? as a bobsled races by in the background
Image to right: 2002 U.S. Olympic bobsledding silver medalist Todd Hays will compete again in the 2006 Olympic Games. Credit: NASA

In a new series of short video clips, Olympic athletes explain what their sports have in common with space exploration. A bobsledder, for example, talks about how launching spacecraft from Florida is like getting a running start on the bobsled track. Competitive snowboarding experience might very well provide the "right stuff" for landing a spacecraft safely on the moon. And, even though there's no snow on the moon, a snowboarder just might find a way to carve some gnarly turns in the powdery moon dust.

Educator Insights resource sheets accompany the series of 30- to 60-second videos. These resource materials outline a number of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, concepts that relate to the videos. Additionally, the materials equip educators with interesting information that is unique to NASA and is provided by its scientists and engineers. The free, downloadable materials also relate to national standards and complement STEM lessons for grades 9-12. Educators of other grades may find them useful as well.

A young man stands behind the words Could you bust a cab 720 on the moon? while in the background a snowboarder flies in front of an image of the moon
Image to right: 2006 U.S. Olympic snowboarding hopeful Kier Dillon enjoys the halfpipe events. Credit: NASA

These new resources can help bring the excitement of the Winter Olympics and NASA into your classroom.

Educator Insights
Launching From Florida: Life In the Fast Lane!
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Leaving Your Competition in the Dust!
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Flipping Lunar-tics and Their Electrifying Moves!
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Watch the videos at NASA's Brain Bites™
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David Hitt/NASA Educational Technology Services