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Using science to discover what makes the ideal soccer player

Students at the La Crosse Design Institute (LDI) in the School District of La Crosse explored, “What makes the ideal soccer player?” through an integrated STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) project.

After watching the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, the students studied different skills that professional soccer players have. By inserting PocketLab device technology into soccer balls, the students have a full science laboratory at their fingertips. The devices allowed the students to collect data on measurable attributes like the acceleration of a soccer ball after it is kicked and the amount of force impacted on a soccer ball when it was kicked.

The student teams created their own conclusions about whether athletic soccer ability can be linked to measurable attributes such as height, leg strength, endurance, speed, and reaction time.

“The most beneficial part about having this technology is that the students are able to use their own curiosity to guide their learning,” said La Crosse Design Institute teacher and advisor Maggie McHugh. “Students often view mathematics and science with the lens of having only one correct answer. This project provides an opportunity to investigate critical academic skills while developing the mentality of solving open-ended problems versus getting the “right” answer.”

Funding for the project came from the UW-La Crosse School of Education Cooperating Teacher Grant and the Wisconsin Mathematics Education Foundation (WMEF).

LDI PockeLab 2016