A bed of nails, a cinder block and a flaming bottle full of oxygen took center stage at the fifth annual ‘Science of Sports’ kickoff event at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass.

Raytheon and the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation hosted more than 100 students from Boys & Girls Clubs to launch the program, which pairs mentors with students to produce science fair projects. The projects explore math and science through competitive sports.

Students gasped as a member of Boston-based Science from Scientists smashed a cinder block off the stomach of a colleague resting on a bed of nails to demonstrate the physics of pressure. They ooohed as scientists ignited oxygen and alcohol in a water cooler bottle.

Science of Sports 2013 - Science from ScientistsSnow fell over the crowd as another scientist shot a fire extinguisher into the air to demonstrate how the cool carbon dioxide changed water vapor into frost.

“It’s great to see the kids so excited today about math and science,” said Mike Goodwin, executive director of the Massachusetts Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs. “The Science of Sports competition is a fantastic program that our clubs look forward to every year.”

Students came from Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire for the Jan. 19 launch event. Organizers paired them with 80 Raytheon volunteers.

The 15-week Science of Sports program culminates with the students presenting their projects at a science fair at Gillette Stadium on May 5. Raytheon and the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation award scholarships to the top three teams.

“We’re all excited to see what projects they produce at the competition in May,” Goodwin said.

The program is one of many education programs Raytheon supports to help young people develop and sustain an interest in math and science, as well as the skills they will need to drive U.S. leadership in technology and innovation.

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