Imagine locking both feet onto a board, hurtling down a vertical face and up the opposing one before becoming airborne, where you twist and flip with near abandon. Now, imagine doing that with the equivalent weight of five people clinging to your back! If you can (and you have fiery red hair) then you might be channeling Shaun White—the former gold medalist, who competed in the 2014 Olympic halfpipe event.
To prep yourself, take a look at Shaun White & Engineering the Halfpipe, one of ten videos from NBC Learn/NSF focused on the science of and engineering behind the 2014 Winter Olympic Games.
Then use this Engineering the Halfpipe Inquiry Guide to model a science inquiry into the factors determining centripetal acceleration AND an engineering design inquiry in which students design a model snowboarder and venue that gives the snowboard the most “air time.”