Schottenbauer Publishing

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Relating Ball Specifications to Performance

Take a moment to think: How many ball sports exist? Each one requires a ball of a specific size and construction. Within each sport, certain manufacturers may offer a set of uniquely performing balls, each varying slightly from the others in materials. Some sports also offer multiple sizes of balls, to accommodate the needs of children, youth, and adults.

Consider the following table, excerpted and edited from the Sampler Edition of Bounce, Roll, & Fly: The Science of Balls. This table contains a selection of balls found both in the Sampler Edition and a set of accompanying YouTube videos:

Discussion Questions:
  1. How many sports are represented in the table above? 
  2. What is the largest ball? The smallest?
  3. Which ball has the largest mass? The smallest?
  4. Write out the ball names in order from smallest to largest size. 
  5. Write out the ball names in order from smallest to largest mass. 
  6. Is the order of balls in #4 and #5 the same? Why of why not?
  7. For this set of data, how should the average size be calculated?
  8. What is the average size of ball? 
  9. What is the average mass of ball?
  10. Describe the differences between the three types of baseballs. Why is one smaller than the others?
  11. Is the information above sufficient for manufacturing a ball? Why or why not?
  12. Use the Internet to find out which balls from the table above are solid and which are hollow. Among those which are hollow, which are inflatable and which are not? What is the normal air pressure for each inflatable ball?

Lab manuals from Schottenbauer Publishing can be used to supplement traditional curricula in math, physical science, physics, and physical education. They can also be integrated into summer camp and other summer academic enrichment activities, from approximately age 10 and onward. Ideas for lesson plans can be found in the blog Graphs in Education