What Happens When You Combine STEM & Sports?

We’re pleased to welcome ETR to the STEM Sports® lineup as they will begin to distribute our curricula to school’s health and physical education departments throughout the United States. To kick off the collaboration, we were panelists at ETR’s webinar at the end of February 2021. STEM Sports® and Science of Sport came together to discuss What Happens When You Combine STEM and Sports in three separate categories:

  • Real world relevance
  • Equity 
  • Motivation

Real World Relevance

The idea of learning science, technology, engineering and math concepts can be daunting and even tedious for students. One way this is combatted is using sports as a way to facilitate STEM education. This unique combination promotes critical thinking through physical activity. This can often be used to answer the question: Why do I have to learn this?

Active learning through sports gives students a real world situation where the STEM concepts are applicable. In the STEM Sports® supplemental curricula, each module highlights STEM careers in sports that are connected to the STEM concepts they are learning.  Science of Sports’ Chief Scientist and Founder Ricardo Vilardi demonstrated for students how science, technology students why science, technology, engineering and math can be used in both sports and everyday life. He says to show the back of a baseball card. Baseball is a great way to show students how math is real world applicable. 

Through different approaches, each of these entities agreed that real world applications are essential to engaging students in STEM subjects. 

Equity

Equity is a commonly discussed topic in education. This topic has gained traction in the STEM field in recent years. People are pushing for racial and gender equality and inclusion in STEM careers. This battle towards equity begins with creating an inclusive and engaging experience for students starting as early as Kindergarten. 

Inclusion and equality can be achieved by breaking down barriers and giving students of all races, genders and socio-economic backgrounds access to quality STEM curriculum. Vilardi said that his not-for-profit company focuses on leveling the playfield for all students through sports. STEM Sports® has a similar goal and uses sports to create an approachable and unintimidating learning environment for all children. 

Using sports to facilitate STEM lessons presents a unique opportunity to appeal to the left and right brain learner. The curriculum appeals to the science lovers and sports lovers. It also gives students the opportunity to learn through physical activity/ doing not just observing. This allows students to see STEM and sports in a new and exciting way. 

By creating an inclusive and inviting environment, all students have the opportunity to engage with STEM and improve their STEM literacy. This will create comfortable and passionate STEM learners that feel confident pursuing STEM degrees and STEM careers. 

Motivation 

How many times have you heard your child complain about going to school? About a class? About having to do their homework? Almost every parent has experienced these things. STEM Sports® and Science of Sport see the opportunity that sports provides to disguised learning. When sports are involved, children think of it as playing rather than learning! 

Sports are a great way to instill values of hard work in students. The same things that make you successful in sports will make you successful in life. By using real world examples and creating an inclusive environment, we can continue to motivate students to improve their STEM literacy. 

ETR is nationally known for their interdisciplinary expertise in research, evaluation and program strategies to increase equity and inclusion in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. STEM Sports is excited for our collaboration with ETR and is ready to play ball!