Have you ever watched hockey and thought about the puck?
How fast is it going? And how does it go so fast?
Those questions inspired a fun winter science project: Hockey Science.
Can you combine hockey with science? Of course you can!
We don’t have any hockey players in our family, but we definitely have hockey fans. Hockey is a hugely popular sport here in Minnesota for both girls and boys. We thought we’d have a little fun with hockey and turned it into a simple science experiment.
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Our question: What will slide on ice?
Before we started our project, I needed to do a little prep.
I created a two-sided chart. The first side for our predictions and the second side for our results.
I also prepped a box of different items we already had on hand: glass marbles, muffin-tin crayons, milk jug caps, a rough piece of bark, a rough rock, puff balls, and small squares of felt.
Finally, I set a large sheet pan outside and filled it with water. Our sub-zero temperatures guaranteed that the water would freeze faster outside than in our own freezer. Brrrrrr! Stick your pan in the freezer if your day isn’t as cold as mine.
Make a prediction – form your hypothesis.
I showed my oldest (age 5 1/2) the items and asked her if she thought they would slide easily on the ice. I had her make her predictions by making an “x” in the appropriate box, “slide” or “not slide”.
Create your hypothesis by forming a statement: I predict ___________ will slide and ice and ____________ will not slide.
The hockey science experiment.
The experiment’s always the fun part, isn’t it?
It was time to see how well everything slid. We brought in our frozen sheet pan and started sliding our objects across it. My oldest marked our results the same way as she did our predictions.
We discovered that felt and pom poms didn’t slide like we thought they would. And those glass marbles, wow! They slid the best!
The item that were smooth and light slid better than the items that were rough or soft.
We were exploring friction with our hockey science project. The rough (or fuzzy) items had more friction which slowed the objects down. The smoother the item, the less friction which meant they slid more quickly across the ice.
By now, we had a good idea as to why a hockey puck looks like it does.
But, how fast do those things really go?
Hockey pucks generally travel over 100 miles per hour and the fastest hockey shot clocked in at 110.3 miles per hour. (Source: Guinness Book of World Records) Wow!