Deflategate Expert Teams with MIT BLOSSOMS to Create High School STEM Lesson

Newest online video leverages football tampering controversy to enhance classroom teaching and engage students worldwide in math and science

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Jan. 18, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) BLOSSOMS Program (“Blended Learning Open Source Science Or Math Studies”) is expanding its portfolio of free online lessons to include a new interactive video that explores the physical science behind the 2015 AFC Championship Game football-tampering case commonly referred to as “Deflategate.”  BLOSSOMS lessons are used in high school STEM classes, where STEM = Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.

The new learning video, “Temperature, Pressure and American Football:  An Introduction to Gay-Lussacs Law”, featuring Deflategate expert and MIT Mechanical Engineering Professor, John Leonard, comes on the heels of the two-year anniversary of Deflategate and as the New England Patriots prepare to take on the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Championship game this weekend.

“In anticipation of the NFL’s Conference Championship games, we want to offer our newest BLOSSOMS video lesson, showing students that STEM is not just robots and going to Mars, it’s everywhere in our lives, even in American football,” said MIT Professor Richard Larson, Director of the BLOSSOMS program. “This video lesson encourages students to look at evidence and, acting as scientists analyzing data and thinking critically, to make their own conclusion about what may or may not have happened two years ago at Gillette Stadium.”  

Teachers nationwide can now download the video from the BLOSSOMS website and use it as a supplemental lesson in the classroom. Students will learn the physics of Gay-Lussac’s gas law and the relationship between pressure and temperature by taking on the role of scientists who have been asked by officials to advise them on whether the cheating accusation was correct or incorrect.

“We’re using a well-known and highly-controversial sporting event to show students how mathematicians, scientists and engineers think. We want to engage students in problem solving and allow them to come to their own conclusion. Regardless of what they decide, Deflategate is an excellent science lesson because it illustrates how the laws of physics can apply in real world situations. My hope is the legacy of this Patriots controversy will be the STEM lessons it offers our young students,” said Leonard.

BLOSSOMS videos are 50-minute lessons designed for large-screen display in brief segments to students in their classroom, each sitting in their regular seats with computers and cell phones OFF. Each lesson is interspersed with breaks, during which students – guided by their teacher – engage in a variety of activities that challenge them to problem solve and think critically. By involving students in hands-on, active learning, BLOSSOMS lessons give them a sense of accomplishment and excitement. These lessons demonstrate how many STEM topics relate to their everyday lives.  A key objective is to attract greater numbers of students to STEM study and eventually to STEM careers.

MIT BLOSSOMS assists teachers by providing them with free online STEM resources and by helping them meet the new Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) through quality science content and pedagogy that develops newly required skills. The Deflategate lesson and all the other BLOSSOMS lessons provide complete lesson plans for the in-class teacher – still in very much charge of her or his class.

The new Deflategate BLOSSOMS lesson can be found online here. The MIT BLOSSOMS Video Library includes nearly 200 additional STEM lessons, in multiple languages, all freely available to teachers as streaming video and Internet downloads and as DVDs upon request.

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