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Students Have Fun Learning the Physics of Skating

The Innovation on Ice Activity Kicked-off at The Tech Museum of Innovation in Partnership with the Sharks Foundation and SAP

by Sharks Foundation @SharksCare /

SAN JOSE, CA - Kids and their families from across the Bay Area, along with volunteers from the Sharks Foundation, SAP and Sharks alumni Rob Zettler, experimented with physics and ice skates in a new activity called Innovation on Ice, which kicked-off at The Tech Museum of Innovation on Wednesday, March 8. The engineering design challenge was created by The Tech as part of a partnership with the Sharks Foundation and SAP to give more people access to STEM education and sports-themed science activities. 

"We are thrilled at this opportunity to inspire students and families with science and technology in a fun and interactive way," Heather Hooper, Sharks Foundation Manager said. "We believe this activity will encourage a new generation of Sharks fans to see themselves as leaders whether playing hockey or in engineering fields."

Innovation on Ice is part of a four-year partnership that will include more sports-themed tech and engineering activities. The design challenge is a drop-in activity in which visitors experiment with the physics of ice skating by testing the effects different materials have on friction. Guests will build their own hockey skate blades, replacing the traditional steel blade with CDs, plastics, foams and other familiar materials. They will test their creation on a custom inclined track, precisely monitoring the skate speed to see which material makes a faster skate. Iteration is an important part of the innovation process, and guests are encouraged to adjust their designs and re-test.  

"SAP is committed to equipping young people with the skills and experiences they need for successful careers in the digital economy," John McGee, Managing Director, West Region, SAP North America said. "By partnering with The Tech and the Sharks Foundation on this program we're able to show young people that STEM skills are applicable to everything around us, from designing sports equipment to developing software." 

More than 400,000 people visit The Tech every year to learn about robotics, bioengineering, cyber security, wearable tech, the engineering design process, and how to creatively solve problems using technology. The Tech also offers free field trips for Title I schools, bringing 25,000 underserved students to the museum for a day dedicated to STEM learning, including hand-on science labs.

"We see our visitors grow confident as they tackle fresh challenges every day," Prinda Wanakule, Director of Experience Development and Prototyping said. "This activity is a new and exciting tool to encourage our visitors to see their ability to use technology to solve big problems. Making connections and igniting passions through sports and our downtown neighbors, the San Jose Sharks and SAP, is a great bonus.

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