Skating Through Life
by Jen Holmstrom

Around the Holidays we look for seasonal activities. One of the best activities for colder days is skating; roller or ice. Both roller skating and ice skating are fun and perfect for the season. And both have their educational properties!

You can research the many types of sports involved with skating. Roller derby, Roller hockey, figure skating, speed skating, ice hockey, etc. There are many athletes that are exciting to watch while they engage in these sports, and your child can be exposed to various athletic activities; ones they may have never knew existed.

Roller skating is timeless, but has rivaled roller blading in the past. It would be a fun project to examine the physics of roller skating vs roller blading. Do you prefer four giant wheels or a line of several small wheels. The experience is quite different, and you’ll find that there are roller skating people and there are roller blading people, but both can be done in the same capacity.

Ice skating is a classic winter activity and the physics of it is different than skating. The blade gliding across the ice is a different concept than wheels rolling. In ice skating, a rink must often take a moment to run the Zamboni and freshen up the ice; whereas at an ice skating pond, the weather should be at an appropriate temperature in order for it to function properly. This is an interesting concept and a child could easily do a research paper or science project on the freezing of water and making an ice rink safe.

In both roller and ice skating, size, weight, and shape are factors to observe and investigate. This would be a great science project! One could explore aerodynamics, exercise value, and even style. I would recommend to have a log book for observations and theories and then a section to report conclusions. Any of these observations can be made without even going to a rink. But the real fun is in testing out theories and experiencing the skills involved in these activities.

Getting out on the rink is fun and takes some courage. Everyone, even experienced skaters, are at risk for falling to the ground with flailing limbs and ultimately looking silly. But that’s half the fun. Gliding out with fear and trepidation is highly satisfying when you accomplish a few laps and feel your skills quickly growing. Taking a trip to your local rink will be enjoyable and a fun way to incorporate science and physical education into your curriculum. Now go lace up!

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