Any fool can know.  The point is to understand.

–Albert Einstein

 

STEMstitute helps youth understand the how, why, where, when, and how behind recreation.  It does so by creating customized, STEM curriculum that can be used by recreation businesses, alternative education providers, and families to connect science, technology, engineering, and mathematics concepts to the activities and equipment associated with a particular type of recreation.  

Adopting a STEMstitute course gives businesses a competitive edge by expanding their market to include school field trips and adding an educational component to homeschool outings, birthday parties, classes, and camps.  STEMstitute curriculum provides new avenues for promoting and delivering STEM education for alternative education providers.  And families use STEMstitute classes to connect education to their children’s play.

STEMstitute can also provide class teachers and/or train-the-trainer services, as needed. 

Examples of how STEM relates to recreation:

S (Science):

Have you ever made fun of someone grunting?  As it turns out, grunting can actually help your performance in some sports.  How?  When someone grunts, their stomach muscles tighten and they breathe out.  These actions give them more power in their arms.  One study found that grunting could increase the speed of a tennis serve by 5 miles per hour. 

 T (Technology):

New technology has improved the way that balls can be used.  The small indentations or dimples on golf balls reduce wind resistance on the balls and allow them to fly further.  If golf balls were smooth (like they were originally) the ball could only travel about half the distance that dimpled balls can.  Tennis ball, on the other hand, have actually been manufactured to slow things down so that they can be seen and hit.  Fuzz on outside of the ball acts to create wind resistance (slowing the ball as it travels through the air) and to slightly lessen the bounce of the ball on the court (making the path of the ball more level).  Research has found that a ball with fewer seams and more flat area is easier to control.  This has lead the World Cup of soccer to change the look of their soccer balls.  In 2006, the World Cup soccer ball had 14 panels.  The panels decreased to eight in 2010 and then again to six in 2014.

E (Engineering):

Roller coaster train cars often have two sets of wheels: wheels on the top of the track to keep the train car running smoothly and wheels under and also the sides of the track to keep the train car anchored to the track during dips and turns.

M (Mathematics):

Force calculations can help us understand the mechanics of jumping.  As soon as a person starts to jump into the air, gravity starts to pull them back down again.  Therefore, the person starts to lose their upward speed until their speed equals zero and they are at the top of their jump.  Gravity then takes over, increasing the person’s speed in the downward direction.  But because the person’s lowest speed (zero) occurs when they are at the top of their jump, they spend most of their jumping time (seventy-one percent) at the top half of their jump height.  This phenomenon is what makes people look like they are hanging in midair (in basketball, this is called “hang time”).