The Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation (LADF) and the Science of Sport organization celebrated the first year of STEM education in the Inglewood Unified School District. A group of 500 3rdto 5thyear elementary students participated in interactive STEM experiments led by current and former Los Angeles Dodgers players.
It was certainly a commemorative day for students, teachers and players. After a year of implementing the Science of Baseball program, players and students were happy to work together solving scientific experiments relating to the analytics of baseball.
Implementing the Science of Baseball program during the school year altered the classroom’s curriculum at Bennet-Kew Elementary, Worthington Elementary, and Woodworth Elementary School of the Inglewood Unified School District.
By infusing science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) within the game of baseball, teachers have a new way to convey these subjects outside the classroom; thus, providing students with an all-inclusive approach to kinesthetic learning. Needless to say, some students may even develop a fondness for STEM when the guest instructors are professional athletes.
On Friday—May 31, students from the select schools gathered in excitement at Darby Field in Inglewood, as current and former L.A. Dodgers players (Chris Taylor, Matt Beaty, Will Smith, Billy Ashley, Dennis Powell, and Matt Luke) conduct on the field science experiments. Teaching young students about reaction time, ball trajectory, measuring the strike zone, pitching aero dynamics, and sequencing player’s statistics.
“The students are thrilled to be able to connect with former and current players,” said Nichol Whiteman, chief executive officer of the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation. “We can’t continue to tell the students that there is so much STEM in baseball without bringing professional baseball players to [show] them. STEM education [inspires] our kids with options whether it’s the business of sports or [discovering] their college pathway.”
The analytics of baseball is no longer just for nerds; it’s now apart school curriculum, in which will further the evolution of baseball. The use of analytical information is more prevalent then ever before. Former Dodger Billy Ashley stated, “Before analytics was used in a different way. It was used in scouting reports. Now it’s so prominent that games are decided through analytics. So whether you become a baseball player or front office executive, analytics has become apart of today’s game.”
Schools subjected to the program are ahead of the curve in regards to teaching the youth about the possible technological advancement of sciences and sports; therefore, teaching students essential skills for today’s workforce, and further developing the next generation of thinkers.
The STEM program promotes the study of math and science, and promotes its practice through the game of baseball and the L.A. Dodgers. Today, baseball is regarded as an analytical sport, which characteristics of the game present complex scientific equation. Such as, launch angle, ball trajectory or aerodynamics.
Players who are well educated in STEM are more likely to calculate critical in-game decisions. Dodgers rookie Will Smith stated, “Analytics play a huge role in everything we do; at the plate, we try to maximize an opportunity for a hit or behind the plate trying to get pitchers going and get guys out.”
Friday’s celebration demonstrates the Dodgers organization’s objective to glamorize math and science among students, creating a moment in their young lives that will validate ancillary reason to be educated in STEM. “It relays the message to [kids] that there are other ways to be involved in baseball,” said Dodgers shortstop Chris Taylor. “There are so many important people behind the scenes and who help us win ball games.”
The Dodgers ambitions have perpetually exceeded baseball, leading the NL West with a dominating .694 win percentage while the implementation STEM education in the Inglewood Unified School District. The Dodgers innovation continues to perform great work on and off the field.