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Screwball Physics – The Magnus Effect in Football (iStage 3)

Bananenflanke – Der Magnus-Effekt beim Fußball (iStage 3)

In June 1997, Roberto Carlos scored an infamous goal in a 35 m free kick with the ball first going off in one direction and then magically curling towards the goal. How did that happen?

The answer is that the ball is spinning in the air and is subjected to the Magnus force. In the teaching unit ‚Screwball Physics‘ students are introduced to the influence of gravity, of the Magnus force and of the aerodynamic resistance on the trajectory of the ball. In simple experiments students simulate the trajectory of the ball with self prepared cylinders and analyse their rotation in free fall in air and under water with the aid of different mathematical models.

The teaching unit is taken from the brochure ‘iStage 3 - Football in Science Teaching’ from the topic ‘ball’. The complete brochure can be ordered free of charge via mail ( or downloaded. It was developed by 20 teachers from 15 countries around Europe. The project was proudly supported by SAP.

Authors: Anders Florén (SE), Philippe Jeanjacquot (FR), Dionysis Konstantinou (GR), Andreas Meier (DE), Corina Toma (RO), Zbigniew Trzmiel (PL)

All additional material for the brochure can be found here.

Try out this teaching idea and take part in the ‘European STEM League’! #EuropeanSTEMLeague

Downloads iStage 3 - Bananenflanke iStage 3 - Screwball Physics iStage 3 - Csavaros fizika iStage 3 - Fisica Con Efecto iStage 3 - Un ballon qui a la banane ! iStage 3 - Po(d)krecona fizyka iStage 3 - Bláznivá fyzika iStage 3 -Skruvad fysik Flyer - Europäische MINT Liga Flyer - European STEM League Related matrial Laternenmond: Elektrizität in der Grundschule mit Physiker Otto Lührs Who murdered Sir Ernest? Detektivstory im naturwissenschaftlichen Unterricht Bioabfall von heute – Energieversorgung von morgen? Experimente mit Biogas (Alles im grünen Bereich) Farbenfrohe Wissenschaft: Experimente im Biologie-, Physik- und Chemieunterricht mit ‘Aqua Beads’ Smartphones im gymnasialen Physikunterricht: Experimente rund um das Thema Beschleunigung