Work Hard and Work Smart: Designing for Athletes

By Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, October 5, 2006

Grade Level

  • Middle School

Category

  • Product Design

Subject Area

  • Arts
  • Language Arts
  • Science

Lesson Time

Two fifty-minute class periods

Introduction

New designs often arise from insightful observations. In this activity students will design a sports bag for athletes. Students will investigate varied sports, interview people involved in varied sports, and engage in active problem solving as they create a new design. They will share their work in collaborative class presentations.

National Standards

Writing
Standard 1. Level III. Uses the general skills and strategies of the writing process 5. Uses content, style, and structure (e.g., formal or informal language, genre, organization) appropriate for specific audiences (e.g., public, private) and purposes (e.g., to entertain, to influence, to inform) 
Reading
Listening & Speaking
Standard 8. Level III. Uses listening and speaking strategies for different purposes 6. Makes oral presentations to the class (e.g., uses notes and outlines; uses organizational pattern that includes preview, introduction, body, transitions, conclusion; uses a clear point of view; uses evidence and arguments to support opinions; uses visual media)
Science
Standard  5. Understands the structure and function of cells and organisms
Health
Physical Education
Working With Others

Objectives

Students will do the following:
  • respond to writing prompts
  • conduct Internet research
  • explore the relationship between physical activity, health and nutrition
  • compare, contrast, and analyze diverse sources of information
  • create a class presentation

Resources

  • Websites
  • "Design for Athletes" handout

Materials

  • computer with Internet access
  • drawing or construction paper
  • health and fitness-related magazines and books
  • markers, crayons, pencils
  • stapler, scissors, glue

Procedures

 Building Background Generating Ideas

The purpose of this activity is to help students activate background knowledge on a variety of sports. 1. Lead a class discussion based on the following questions:
  • What kind of equipment does a soccer player use?
  • What kind of equipment does a tennis player use?
  • What kind of equipment does a basketball player use?
  • What kind of equipment does a hockey player use?
  • What kind of equipment does a softball player use?
  • What kind of equipment does a lacrosse player use?
  • What kind of equipment does a volleyball player use?
  • What kind of equipment does a figure skater use?
  • What kind of equipment does a surfer use?
  • What kind of equipment does a field hockey player use?
  • What kind of equipment does a ballet dancer use?
  • What kind of equipment does a swimmer use?
  • What kind of equipment does an equestrian use?
  • What kind of equipment does a golfer use?
2. Ask the students to discuss how different sports involve different body parts and how different sports require different skills (for example, hand-eye coordination, strong aerobic capacity, the ability to jump high, etc.) Ask the students to discuss the relationship between physical activity, nutrition, health, and exercise.

Steps for Learning Making It Work: Know Your Sport

The purpose of this activity is to help students create a design for a sports gear bag. 1. Divide the class into small groups. Give each group a copy of the "Design for Athletes" handout. 2. Have the students present their work to their classmates. 3. Host a mock design award show using the students' work. First, as a class, decide what categories you will use for the awards. The following is a list of suggestions:
  • Most Original Design
  • Most Practical Design
  • Most Attractive Design
4. Lead a class discussion on how the various designs met the specific needs of athletes involved in the varied sports activities.

Assessment

Reflection

Create a class rubric with your students that will help them understand the effectiveness of their design process. Use the following guidelines to help create the rubric. -How effective was your brainstorming in generating ideas? Excellent          Good            Adequate            Poor -Rate how effectively you analyzed the information you used to identify your problem. Excellent          Good            Adequate            Poor -Rate the effectiveness of your presentation. Excellent          Good            Adequate            Poor -Rate how clearly you communicated your ideas. Excellent          Good            Adequate            Poor -Rate how clearly you communicated your solution. Excellent          Good            Adequate            Poor -Rate your effectiveness as problem solvers. Excellent          Good            Adequate            Poor -Rate your creativity. Excellent          Good            Adequate            Poor

Enrichment Extension Activities

Activity One: The Human Body

Ask students to conduct research on how different sports require different body movements. Have the class complete a chart comparing the results of their research.

Activity Two: Nutrition & Sports

Have students explore the role of nutrition in athletic performance. Ask the students to create a poster to share what they learned with their classmates. Tell the class to begin by viewing the following website: http://www.kidshealth.org/kid/stay_healthy/food/sports.html.

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