After starting The Complete Player (TCP) to provide opportunities to you baseball players through Grants and Youth Teams, I wanted to make a greater impact in the community outside of the sport, but still using baseball, the game that I love, to give back. I just didn’t know how TCP was going to be able to do it.
After some conversations with Sherrie, a mother of one of my players who is a math teacher, I found that there was a state-wide initiative to improve math scores across the board. As we continued to discuss the topic, Sherrie brought up the idea of doing a Field Trip and I was instantly hooked. I immediately thought to myself, what a great way to bring excitement to math as well as get students physically active and teach them the game of baseball.
So, we developed our program as an interdisciplinary program that takes students through baseball activities – such as throwing, hitting and base-running – where they collect individual and group data that is used to solve math problems that are aligned with the Maryland Common Core Standards and curriculum. Each activity touches on a different area of math related to that specific grade and covers at least four topics.
“Mr. T are we going to start doing math? “Well what did you just do?” We just ran the bases and recorded our time and then we added and subjected our times in decimal form. “Well isn’t that doing math?” I guess, but when are we going to start doing math?” Anonymous 4th grade student; Riviera Beach ES
In 2017 we launched and conducted our Field Trip program at two elementary schools and two middle schools for students in 3rd, 4th, 6th and 7th grade, reaching 240 students. We were extremely successful in getting students engaged in our Field Trips and challenging them academically. Most students were having so much fun they didn’t even realize they were learning and others had so much fun learning the game of baseball that they wanted to sign up and play on a team.
After completing our first two Field Trips, through conversations with the teachers, we figured out that we could create an In-Class Enrichment program that centered around the same ideas as the Field Trip, where students will partake in baseball activities to collect data that will be used to solve math problems.
The differences between the programs is the In-Class Enrichment program is a 6-8 week program, not an isolated event, and the program follows the curriculum being taught at that time. To date we have conducted four successful In-Class programs, reaching a combined total of 103 students, from one 3rd grade class, two 4th grade classes and one 7/8th grade class.
What we have learned from our two enrichment programs is that students get so engulfed in the baseball activities and learning about themselves they don’t event recognize they are learning, which is a win-win. We also found that teachers are able to use the experiences and activities from the program during their own classes helping the students understand new math topics and to get them excited about math.
As one teacher told us “I was able to take the base-running activity and relate that to elapsed time when we got that subject. When we did the activity I noticed that the students were fully engaged and more excited about that days lesson compared to most days.”
Through word of mouth and recommendations we will be conducting our Field Trips at two new elementary schools and returning to one middle school in the Spring of 2018. In the fall of 2018 we will be returning to one elementary and one middle school to conduct our In-Class Enrichment program. We are currently looking for new schools for our Field Trip program.
All in all we are finding that students are more engaged and excited to come to math class when they get to partake in programs where they get to collect data about themselves, especially through physical activity.