Rowing Outreach and STEM

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Closing the Opportunity Gap

I’ve been working with the Tulsa Youth Rowing Association on a rowing outreach project for the last six months. We aim to provide more access to rowing for young students who wouldn’t typically have the chance to row. However, we want to go further than that and offer a Rowing STEM educational component to our program.

For an executive summary and general overview of the gROW Tulsa program, visit this link.

How Do You Engage Students And Help Them Develop a Passion For Science?

Science is a lot more interesting to a young student if the data that they are generating is their own.

I recently listened to an NPR podcast featuring Randall Munroe who at one stage taught a weekend class at MIT to high school students about the subject of energy. Initially, the students were not as engaged as they could be.

However, once he asked a Star Wars based question he received a much better response.

How much energy would it take to lift an X-Wing fighter out of the swamp in Dagobah?

Instantly the students were engaged, and the potential energy problem had a new life of its own. Students needed to work out the mass of an X-Wing fighter and then research what the gravity was on the planet. In short, the students were much more invested in their work.

For more information on this follow this link.  FYI, the energy required to lift an X-Wing out of the swamp on Dagobah is 19.2 Kilowatts if you don’t want to listen to the NPR podcast 😉

Rowing STEM could provide a similar process for students.

Rowing STEM Science

Rowing STEM

We are looking to pilot a program for ten weeks by bringing in rowing machines into a middle school or similar environment. In addition to the health and wellness benefits, we want to add a STEM complement to our project. The PM monitor attached to the Concept2 machine coupled with a mobile phone provides plenty of data to help learn about math, science, and engineering.

I have created a Rowing STEM Facebook Group. If you would like to contribute to the discussion, please head on over the Facebook and join click here. >>

I have started to develop some sample STEM-based labs/activities to complement the physical education component to this program.

Here are some links to a couple of examples.

Virtual Rowing Around Downtown Tulsa!
RowingSTEM – Experiment 1 – Watts and Stroke Rate

How Can You Help?

I am looking for coaches, teachers, companies, and organizations to help me develop, support and sponsor this outreach project. If the pilot is successful, the program can scale and benefit more in our community and other places.

I hope there are folks like yourself reading this that want to help me develop a Rowing STEM curriculum. If you have an interest in brainstorming with me, devising experiments and this sounds like a journey you would like to take, contact me at or connect with me on Facebook at or Twitter @coachbergenroth.

Below is my early brainstorming for where we could go with this.

Comment below if you see something you think I need to add. I’d love to hear from you!

Human Performance
Exercise Science
Anatomy and Physiology
Mobility and Flexibility
Program Design
Acids and Bases (Lactic acids and Lactate)
Lactate Threshold

Equipment – Physics
Materials Science
Force Production


Computer Science
Data Collection
Data Analysis
Game Development
Data Visualization
Database Development
Web Programming
App Development

Speed = Distance/Time
Average Time/Split

Collaboration and Teamwork
Goal Setting

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