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ERIC Number: EJ1165797
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2018-Jan
Pages: 4
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0031-921X
Let's Get Physical: Teaching Physics through Gymnastics
Sojourner, Elena J.; Burgasser, Adam J.; Weise, Eric D.
Physics Teacher, v56 n1 p43-46 Jan 2018
The concept of embodied learning--that we can learn with our bodies and with our minds--is a well-established concept in physics and math education research, and includes symbolic understanding (e.g., gestures that track how students think or facilitate learning to model complex systems of energy flow) as well as the literal experience of exploring physical phenomena through body movements. Sport has long served as a guide for both illustrating and experiencing physical concepts and phenomena, with a particularly relevant example being the sport of gymnastics. Here, the practitioner is subjected to a wide range of forces and torques, and experiences translational and rotational motions, all guided by control of body positioning, shape, strength, and leverage. Smith provides a comprehensive study of the mechanics used to analyze gymnastic movements, which includes core concepts such as force balance, leverage and torque, center of mass and stability, moment of inertia, ballistic motion, pendulum motion, and circular motion. For life science majors, gymnastics also provides relevant physical examples of biomechanics and the physical limits of biological materials (skin, bones, ligaments). The popularity of gymnastics--consider the phenomenon of Simone Biles--makes it broadly accessible and engaging, particularly across genders.
American Association of Physics Teachers. One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740. Tel: 301-209-3300; Fax: 301-209-0845; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A