One of the NSDL blogs — Exemplary Resources for Middle School Math and Science — just posted a very nice list of several places you can find information on science & sports for use in your classroom:

These resources take an in-depth look at how chemistry and technology have had a huge impact on all kinds of sports – from golf to paintball and in addition, follow the theme of this year’s National Chemistry Week (October 19-25, 2008) – Having a Ball with Chemistry!

Chemistry: Making It Real
The resources selected for this publication from the NSDL Middle School Portal will help your students understand chemistry at work, using examples that will spark their interest. A basic understanding of chemistry concepts and terminology will prepare them for more abstract studies in chemistry in their high school years and beyond.

Sport Science
The Exploratorium explains the science behind cycling, skateboarding, surfing, hockey, and baseball. Articles, interviews, interactive simulations, video clips, and activities for students provide an in-depth look at all these sports.

Golf Balls
Since the late 1800s, chemists have been called on to find ways to produce lighter, faster, and durable golf balls. This site traces the chemistry that has transformed the ball and promises to create a ball that will “soar like a cruise missile, hit the ground at a very shallow angle, and roll for up to 40 yards on hard ground.”

Artificial Snow
Towns that depend on skiing for their income watch the skies for signs of snow. If it doesn’t come in sufficient amounts, they can call on companies that make snow. Sometimes snow is needed on movie sets or other indoor sites. Various methods of making snow for different purposes are described here.

Paintball: Chemistry Hits Its Mark
The first paintballs were fired by foresters and ranchers to mark trees and cattle. In the 1980s, someone got the idea that it would be more fun to fire paintballs at people than at trees and cows. Thus the sport of paintball was born. In this article from ChemMatters, learn how the one billion paintballs manufactured each year are a product of chemistry and engineering.

Physics Today just published an article about the weirdo swimsuits we’ve been seeing in the Olympics. I knew there had to be something special about them, because they’re full-body suits. There’d be no reason to cover over the swimmer’s skin unless the suit itself had less drag than skin. Turns out that’s the case. The new suit, the Fastkin LZR Racer from Speedo (which costs $600 and took 4 years to develop, in part by NASA scientists) has extremely low viscous drag. The company claims that it has 5% less drag than previous models, which were based on the denticles on a shark’s skin. Denticles are little structures on the skin that make tiny whirlpools as the shark moves, reducing drag. The new suit does away with that technology, and instead focuses on the regions of the body that are responsible for the highest friction with the water — which turn out to be the chest, head, thighs and groin. The suit squishes those parts to compress them and reduce drag. The final suit isn’t even stitched together with thread — it’s put together wtih ultrasonic acoustic vibrations — however that works!

Read the whole article here as well as several videos of the suit and the process of making it.

And more on the physics of swimming at Physics Buzz.