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National Science Foundation

In America, the autumn season means two things--back to school and back to football. To celebrate both events, NBC News' educational arm, NBC Learn, is teaming up with the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Football League (NFL) to release the "Science of NFL Football"--an informative, 10-part video series that explores the science behind America's most beloved sport.

Made especially for students and teachers as they head back to the classroom, these videos are aligned to lesson plans and national state education standards, and are available... more."

Lesson plans to accompany the "Science of NFL Football" videos are available at Lessonopoly.org.

Episodes

Football player with a football in his hands

This segment looks at the role vectors play every time an NFL quarterback throws a pass. With the help of former NFL quarterback Joey Harrington, NSF-funded scientists John Ziegert, a professor at Clemson University, and Rhonda Hughes, a professor at Bryn Mawr College, explain how to use vectors to calculate the speed and direction needed for a completed pass.

Video View video (3:58)

Punter and football in the air

This segment looks at the science of projectile motion and parabolas with the help of former NFL punter Craig Hentrich. NSF-funded scientists Jim Gates, a professor at the University of Maryland, John Ziegert, a professor at Clemson University and Rhonda Hughes, a professor at Bryn Mawr College, explain the significance of vertical and horizontal velocity on the trajectory every time an NFL punter kicks a football into the sky.

Video  View video (4:16)

Football player and water squirt bottle

This segment looks at the physically demanding pre-season ritual of NFL training camp. Professor Douglas Casa, head of the Korey Stringer Institute at the University of Connecticut, and athletic trainers from the Pittsburgh Steelers explain what NFL players must do to stay hydrated and replenish the essential nutrients needed to maintain good health during rigorous practices.

Video  View video (5:11)

Football player and words average speed

This segment explores kinematics on the playing field. NSF-funded scientists Tony Schmitz from the University of Florida and John Ziegert of Clemson University explain how the kinematic concepts of position, velocity and acceleration can be used to define how a running back moves.

Video  View video (5:24)

Football with dotted lines for y-axis and x-axis

In this segment, NBC's Lester Holt explores the prolate spheroid, the three-dimensional shape of a football, and how it helps an NFL quarterback throw a hard, accurate pass.

Video  View video (4:09)

Two football players on the field and an official nearby

In this segment, NBC's Lester Holt looks at Newton's First Law of Motion and the role that unbalanced forces play whenever a ball carrier goes head to head with a defender.

Video  View video (3:52)

Illustration of Sir Isaac Newton and title Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica

NBC's Lester Holt and former NFL kicker, Morten Andersen, look at what's really behind powerful field goal kicks--Newton's Second Law of Motion.

Video  View video (3:51)

Photo of football player and tackling bag and words momentum, mass, and v for velocity

Newton's Third Law of Motion: NBC's Lester Holt looks at Newton's Third Law of Motion and the role that conservation of momentum plays whenever players collide on the football field, with former NFL linebacker Hardy Nickerson, Tony Schmitz of the University of Florida and Jim Gates of the University of Maryland.

Video  View video (4:12)

Photo of two football players on the line of scrimmage, an arrow, and the words force, moment arm and rotation axis

NBC's Lester Holt looks at how the physics concepts of torque and center of mass are applied in football by some of the games most massive players--the offensive linemen.

Video  View video (4:28)

Image of right triangle on grid  with football players, end zone, 30 yards 40 yards, a-squared and b-squared

In the last segment of this video series, Lester Holt explores the path a defender must take in order to tackle a ball carrier, and how this distance--called the "angle of pursuit"--can be calculated by using the Pythagorean Theorem to find the hypotenuse of a right triangle, and the distance of a defender's angle of pursuit.

Video  View video (3:44)

Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations presented in this material are only those of the presenter grantee/researcher, author, or agency employee; and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

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