Testing the scientific approach

19th March 2004 at 00:00
The Science Museum was one of the first to go hands-on. Now with the Science of Sport exhibition it has gone hands, feet and whole body on. And there's a tracksuit on offer as well.

If students are feeling really competitive they can explode out of the starting blocks on a mini-sprint track, or take on various unbeatable machines on the spot, on the first and second floor in Exhibition Row, Kensington.

Science of Sport is for pupils in both PE and science, from key stage 2 and up. They can assess their performance in activities such as seeing how far they can throw a football; they can view fascinating artefacts (such as Sir Edmund Hillary's Everest climbing boots); and at every turn there are short information books giving the theoretical background to the exhibits.

In PE, the exhibition covers the effects of exercise on the body, the relationship between exercise, health and well-being and the importance of appropriate clothing for hygiene and safety.

In science, the focus is on the skeleton, muscles, circulation, breathing, the nervous system and nutrition in sporting activities.

The layout is spacious, so there is less chance of the manic claustrophobia which can result when school parties start pressing buttons with abandon en masse. But it's not a quiet exhibition. One of the most popular activities is the soccer dribbling-maze where pupils have to dribble along a twisting path and then shoot for goal - all against a ticking clock. If you score there's tumultuous canned applause. What more could a boy - or girl - want?

Olympic 200-metre silver medallist Darren Campbell (pictured above on the left) is enthused about what Science of Sport has to offer. He says:

"This exhibition is a great way for young sports fans to have a go at a whole range of activities, from ball games to athletics, while learning about the science and technology behind sport at the same time."

The exhibition runs until September. Book a visit Tel: 020 7942 4777 Email: edbookings@nmsi.ac.ukTeacher's notes with suggestions for follow-up classroom work: www.sciencemuseum.org.uksport

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