Chemistry in Sport for Gifted and Talented Students

 November 06 2013 | Views: 2159

Kent and Medway

Kent and Medway STEM  in collaboration  with Royal Society of Chemistry ChemNet, organised ‘Chemistry in Sport’ at Canterbury Christ Church University, Canterbury, Sport Science Lab on the 6th of November.

This is organised for Gifted and talented students from Bishop of Rochester Academy to demonstrate how Chemistry makes a surprisingly significant contribution to the world of sport using hands on activities for an hour and a half. Students have done  variety of interactive and observational activities using the Sport Science Laboratory facilities to show  how exercise affects the body’s chemistry and allow them to look ‘inside’ the athlete. Some of the activities include:

Tests were conducted to assess the efficiency of the respiratory system. All children were given the opportunity to take part as it is a highly interactive and fun activity. There was a discussion on the importance of gaseous exchange and also the importance of elements making up the human body.

Tests were then conducted to show how the efficiency and health of the cardiovascular system can be assessed. Children were able to see their blood pressure, a fingertip blood sample was taken from their teacher and centrifuged to show the composition of the blood (after informed consent was provided) and ultrasound technology was used to show inside the human body. This provided a wealth of information and plenty of questions were asked by the children. There was a discussion on the significance of reversible reactions enabling oxygen and carbon dioxide to be transported around the body and the idea of maintaining 'homeostasis'.

The concept of testing how much oxygen the body consumes when we exercise was discussed and children were able to see the gas analysis system in action watching how the amount of oxygen and carbon dioxide used/created by the body changes as we increase our activity. We discussed how this test also known as VO2max test could show us how efficient the body is at using the oxygen in chemical reactions to break down nutrients we consume from food in order to produce energy.

There was continuous reference to how we can monitor our athletes using all the tests mentioned above plus many more and improve their performance using this information.

There was a discussion on  the importance of atoms and elements, energy resources and equilibria. The information students  gather as sport scientists is invaluable, allows scientists to monitor progress, adapt training and provide recommendations to athletes. Scientists continuously conduct research to provide fascinating evidence as to how the human body adapts to become bigger, faster and stronger.

'I learned that ultrasounds can determine the amount of blood which is in arteries and in which way it is going'
'I learned about red blood cells, arteries and how to measure lungs and breathing rates'
'I enjoyed having my blood pressure and seeing the lung sizes'


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If you would like The STEM Hub to help organise an event like this for your school/setting then please contact us today:
Email: kentandmedwaystem@canterbury.ac.uk
Tel: 01227 782662

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