By Jill Denner & BA Laris | April 26, 2022
ETR and dfusion Inc
We all know that sports and other physical activities have health benefits. But did you know that they can also increase students’ interest and learning in science, engineering, technology, and math (STEM)? ETR and our partners at dfusion Inc are excited to be at the intersection of these two different but complementary fields. See our press release about our new app that research shows increases math and science knowledge and interest.
These ideas have been around for a while. Science museums have had sports exhibits for decades, such as the “Sports Challenge” at the Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburg which teaches the physics of hitting a baseball, and “Sports Science” at the Exploratorium in San Francisco which has exhibits such as the aerodynamics of bicycling. Many parents have watched their children learn math and statistics to be able to follow their favorite sports players and teams (remember the book and movie Moneyball?)
There is also a growing number of STEM-related activities led by professional sports teams from baseball, football, hockey, soccer, and more. We love major league baseball team Arizona Diamondbacks’ STEM Field Days, and Code.org’s partnership with the Jaffna Stallions to show the relevance of computer science to cricket. A recent Newsweek article does a nice job of describing other activities.
Watch our free “3 in 30” webinar for more detail from experts in the field who explain what can happen when you combine STEM and sports.
At ETR, science is foundational, so we looked at whether research shows that combining sports and/or physical activity with STEM benefits youth. We dug into the existing research (74 papers!) and found some evidence that adding in elements of sports and other physical activity can increase students’ interest in STEM by helping them see the relevance and improve students’ math learning by making a physiological or cognitive connection with learning. Here are a few exciting examples:
STEM Sports® curriculum is a fun and novel way to introduce motor skills, spatial awareness, and movement patterns to students. When applicable, the lessons have been aligned with national education standards, making this curriculum great to use in the classroom.
Here are just a few of the great student activities:
Want to get your kids or students excited about STEM through sports? Check out these great options:
Jill Denner (she/her/hers) is a Senior Research Scientist at ETR. She partners with schools, colleges, and community-based organizations to do research on broadening participation in computing and other STEM fields. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
BA Laris (she/her/hers) is a Senior Program Manager at dfusion Inc. She partners with researchers, educators, and developers to create innovative and fun technology to promote youth interest and motivation in STEM through sports and physical activity. She can be reached at email@example.com