Carnegie Science Center teams with the Pittsburgh Penguins on new ‘Science of Hockey’ show

The Stanley Cup playoffs continue without the Pittsburgh Penguins this year, but the team is inspiring fans in another way – through science.

The Carnegie Science Center created a new program called “Science of Hockey,” and it’s showing how fun science can be.

 Exploding bouncy balls, spinning tennis balls and flying toilet paper are all exciting and visual ways to teach science concepts using hockey as the hook.

 Jon Doctorik, STEM outreach director for the Carnegie Science Center, says, “It’s a show that explores physics, geometry, material science behind the game of hockey.”

Kids at the Carnegie Science Center summer camps are seeing this program in person, but Doctorick says it went virtual in the pandemic, reaching more people than they ever imagined.

Since January, 20,000 kids have seen this or one of the 300 Science on the Road programs through virtual school assemblies, all performed live.

With help from PPG and the Pittsburgh Penguins, kids are having fun learning about Newton’s Laws, how temperature affects the puck, the geometry of different shots and much more.

Eleven-year-old Brayden Plutto says, “The experiments were really cool, like you didn’t know the bouncy ball was going to explode when he dropped it.”

Doctorick says, “By drawing on these connections to real world applications such as, for example, sports, we aim to get students excited about science and inspire them to start thinking about pursuing careers in STEM.”

At least one child watching the program is excited about that.  Eight-year-old Yasin Embabi said, “I think (“Science of Hockey”) was really, really good, and when I grow up, I want to be a scientist.”

And who knows? “Science of Hockey” may even help improve someone’s hockey game.

KDKA’s Kristine Sorensen asked Doctorick, “So, do you think the information in the program could help a student who plays hockey improve his or her game?”

“Yes. Absolutely,“ he replied.

This fall, the Carnegie Science Center will be offering the “Science of Hockey” program both in person and virtually for school assemblies across our area and across the country.