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Luge by Jenn and Emily

We're Emily and Jenn, and when winter comes, we don't just go sledding, we LUGE! Luge is one of the fastest sports on ice. We're always looking to improve our race time. We started thinking more about how to improve when we visited the New York Hall of Science. They have a pair of slides at their outdoor Playground Science exhibit. Going down the slides made us wonder: Can we improve our start times by paddling more with our hands?

What did we do?
We train at Lake Placid, where the 1980 Winter Olympics were held. We recorded our start times for several kinds of start, including no paddling, paddling once, paddling twice, and paddling five times. We did at least three trials for each kind of start, and calculated our average time.

What did we find out?
Our slowest starts happened when we didn't paddle at all. Our starts improved when we added one or tow paddles. When we tried five paddles, we found we actually slowed ourselves down! Paddling three or four times seems to be the best.

What can you do?
  • Try a winter sledding experiment of your own, using different snow sleds. Which sled design gets you down hill fastest? Also see if you go faster or slower when you add weight to your sled. Does a heavier sled go down the hill faster than a lighter one?
  • Don't wait for winter to begin your sliding experiment! Find a playground slide, and try going down it riding on different kinds of fabric. Grab a beach towel, or an old tablecloth, or anything else you can think of. Are some fabrics more slippery on the slide than others? And what happens if you make the slide wet?
  • Use this physical science investigation as a science fair project idea for your elementary or middle school science fair! Then tell us about it!
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Go to the DFTV Boards, and tell us about your science investigation.
whiz quiz
Which of the following sports was never part of the Olympic games?

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