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Temperature, Pressure, and American Football: Introduction to Gay-Lussac's Gas Law

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American football fans will remember "deflategate" - the controversy that centered on the allegation that the New England Patriots deliberately deflated their footballs prior to their 2015 playoff victory against the Indiana Colts. This recent addition to the MIT BLOSSOMS instructional video series uses "deflategate" to engage high school-level physics students to Gay-Lussac's Gas Law. In this video, John J. Leonard of the MIT Department of Mechanical Engineering leads students through a series of nine hands-on, group problem solving exercises. These exercises are designed to facilitate student understanding of the relationship between temperature and air pressure. Students then use this knowledge to predict the pressure measurements of three footballs stored at three different temperatures. Finally, students use the ideal gas law to analyze the questions at stake in "deflategate." This interactive lesson plan is accompanied by a teacher's guide and a few additional resources, including a link to the 243-page investigative report about "deflategate."
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GEM Subject
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Scout Publication
Date of Scout Publication 2017-09-22
Archived Scout Publication URL https://scout.wisc.edu/report/2017/0922

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