Finding the link in STEM and sport

Strathallan welcomes top athlete Eve Muirhead to bring together science and sport

Strathallan school has been mixing sport with science by welcoming some of the country’s top sporting athletes and experts to help pupils explore the connections between sport and STEM subjects.

The workshop, ‘Bringing Sport and STEM together’, was designed to bring STEM to life through a series of practical experiments based around curling, followed by an inspirational talk from Scottish curler and 2014 Winter Olympics bronze medallist, Eve Muirhead.

A group of Form 3 pupils participated in a particularly unique physics lesson. Led by teachers Dr Ian Mitchell and Ed Kalma, the 14 year-olds conducted a practical experiment using a puck instead of a curling stone in the classroom that incorporated the key elements involved in curling, including friction, momentum and distance.

It is hoped that engaging with young people about the connections between sport and STEM subjects will inspire them to think differently about the subjects that are traditionally seen to be more theoretical than practical.

Audrey Sime, Head of Sport at Strathallan, commented: “This workshop offered our pupils the opportunity to learn about physics in a really fun, practical way that made them think about how many different elements need to be considered in sport. From friction and speed to strategic planning and measuring distance. Practical lessons like this offer all pupils the chance to see STEM subjects in a new light and relate to them more through activities they enjoy such as sport.”

The workshop’s concept originated from Red Sky Management, an Edinburgh-based sports management agency, who have enjoyed trying this new approach to inspiring young people to embrace STEM subjects.

Roly Reid, a Performance Coach from Red Sky Management, said: “We are always looking for inspirational ways to engage young people in STEM subjects which underpin all sporting activities. This is the first time we have collaborated with a school to present a workshop of this kind and Strathallan really embraced the opportunity. The teachers were brilliant at bringing the workshop to life and getting the pupils’ juices flowing.

“Eve’s involvement offered a real-life example of how STEM subjects weave into a sport and Eve commented that she learned a lot herself from the workshop. She loved it as much as the pupils did and enjoyed being able to inspire them to learn.”

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