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4/18 Cover

Question Sheet: Einstein's Skateboard


Before reading:

  1. Why would people create contests or competitions to help get kids interested in science? 
  2. What does skateboarding have to do with physics?

During reading:

  1. Why did this year's Discovery Channel Young Scientist Challenge focus on Albert Einstein? 
  2. When was the gravitational force greatest for skateboarders? 
  3. What was the "trick" for succeeding in the laser obstacle course challenge? 
  4. Describe the different prizes that kids won in this competition.

After reading:

  1. Rate the challenges described in this article from hardest to easiest. Explain your reasoning as to why one challenge might be easier than another. 
  2. Design a challenge that you think might fit into this competition. 
  3. What qualities do you think make for a "good team" in the Discovery Channel Young Scientist Challenge? 
  4. This year's competition focused on Einstein. Name another scientist who could be the focus of a future competition. Why? 
  5. Some of the challenges had "right" answers and others allowed for creativity. Why do you think that the DCYSC would want to include both kinds of tests? 
  6. Do you think that taking science outside of classrooms and your normal school day changes your perception of science? If so, how?


Find out what Einstein did early in his life to prepare for his work in physics. See www.humboldt1.com/~gralsto/einstein/early.html (Jesse Ralston) or lorentz.phl.jhu.edu/AnnusMirabilis/AeReserveArticles/maja.pdf or lorentz.phl.jhu.edu/AnnusMirabilis/AeReserveArticles/pyen.pdf (Johns Hopkins University). Do you think Einstein liked school? What kind of education did he get?


  1. Suppose that you were interviewing the winner of this competition for a kid's newspaper. Come up with nine questions that you would want to ask the winner. 
  2. Albert Einstein once said, "Imagination is more important than knowledge." What does this statement mean? Do you agree with it? Why or why not?


Einstein worked out an equation describing the relationship between matter and energy. His famous equation is E = mc2, where E is energy (in joules), m is mass (in kilograms), and c is the speed of light (in meters per second). Given that the speed of light is 300,000,000 meters per second, into how much energy could you be converted if your mass is 50 kilograms?

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