Introducing students to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) subjects at an early age is essential to students’ future success in these subjects. With STEM jobs rising faster than any other field, educators and parents see the continued importance of their child/students’ STEM literacy. But how do you engage elementary students in STEM – a seemingly complex subject?
Sports are a great way to facilitate aSTEM curriculum. Given sport’s interactive nature, sports lesson plans allow students to engage through hands-on learning, rather than passively. This approach also gives students a natural connection to the real world, which is extremely helpful for students to understand what they are learning on a deeper level.
If you are a loyal STEM Sports® blog reader, you may be wondering how sports lesson plans for elementary students differ from lesson plans for kindergarteners. The significant difference is that as students progress through their elementary years, they grow both mentally and physically. At the kindergarten level, you must be more cautious about your chosen sport. For elementary students, educators have more freedom and options around which sports are used in the lesson plan and what areas of the sport are used to facilitate learning.
Best Sports to Lesson Plan Around for Elementary Students
When creating a sports lesson plan, one of the first steps is choosing which sport you will use. If you are a sports fanatic, this may be an easy task. For others, this may take more research and thinking. Below is a list of popular sports that you can use to create your sports lesson plan for elementary students:
This list names some, but certainly not all, sports options. It is important to remember that the opportunities are endless! Think of a sport – any sport. Whatever sport you are thinking of, there are STEM concepts involved. At first, making these connections may take time. But, after you start creating sports lesson plans, you will begin to naturally see the way that science, technology, engineering, and math connect.
Making The Connection between STEM and Sports
When creating the connection between your chosen sport and STEM, there is a variety of different routes you can take. If you want to do a long-term lesson, you can connect what your students are learning with an active sports season. For example, you could align a lesson with Major League Baseball and allow your students to be statisticians who collect data on each game or for a specific team. This will introduce them to key math subjects and probability in an exciting, interactive way.
You can also take your lesson outdoors and allow your students to be the athletes they are studying. One example of this would be having students play softball. In STEM Softball, students conduct a controlled experiment to determine the change in motion by measuring the distance between a full swing and a bunt. Students then predict how gravity/motion will affect/change the ball if it is hit with a full swing versus a bunt. This lesson gets students physically active, engaged in their own education, and working with their classmates to better understand motion and gravity.
These are two of the many ways that you can connect STEM and sports when creating your sports lesson plan for elementary students. There is no wrong way to facilitate these lessons, sports are filled with real-life examples that can be used to help students better understand what they are learning.
Lesson Planning with STEM Sports
STEM Sports® provides a supplemental turnkey STEM curriculum for K-8 students through the use of sports. Currently offering nine (9) sports, there is a wide variety for educators, facilitators, and parents to choose from depending on the interest of their students/children. Each STEM Sports curriculum kit is separated into grade bands, to ensure student success and engagement in each lesson. The curriculum is offered for grades 3-5 and 6-8. This separation helps to align lessons with Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), Common Core State Standards (CCSS), and K-12 Physical Education Standards.
Each lesson includes detailed and easy-to-understand instructions that are created with students in mind. The idea behind this curriculum is for students to be able to take control of their education and work through each module collaboratively. By giving students this opportunity, we are helping them improve their 21st century education skills and, more importanlty, their soft skills to understand what they are learning on a deeper level.
If you are an educator or facilitator looking to implement sports lessons in your classroom, summer camp, or after-school program, click here to learn more about the STEM Sports® curricula.