STEM Sports integrates class lessons with sports in Phoenix schools

Students at Larry C. Kennedy School in Phoenix are getting the opportunity to learn STEM curriculum through sports with new STEM Sports modules in their after school programs.

STEM Sports combines getting kids active in participating in sport while incorporating STEM learning. The programs are used in elementary and middle schools across the country.

“It gives a great connection for the kids,” Larry C. Kennedy fourth grade teacher Matthew Poland said. “You can tell a kid about addition and subtraction, but once you start giving them something to attach to, that they care about, like sports, then they can really get into the sport…it really stays with them longer.”

Getting kids active while learning plays a big role in the success that the use of STEM Sports has, STEM Sports President and CEO Jeff Golner said.

“I think the greatest thing about the curriculum is kind of the double play of physical activity as well as cognitive thinking,” Golner said. “All of the curriculum puts the students in the field or court of play, but also keeps them in the classroom where there’s worksheets to work on.”

One activity the kids at Larry C. Kennedy got to take part in with the STEM Sports football module was exploring the difference between catching a football with and without gloves.

“It makes it easier (to catch) because the stickiness on the gloves helps you catch the ball,” third grader Eden Lazcano said of what she learned. “There’s a lot of science on the stickiness, like how they make it, that’s science.”

The lessons are used in daily classroom activities, camps and after school programs, Golner said. At Larry C. Kennedy, the modules have been primarily used in the after school programs the school has.

“I think it’s a great program especially in our Phoenix schools,” Poland said. “We’re looking for anything to encourage activity, encourage engagement to get those students really invested not only in just playing, but in their education.”

Golner said the programs have been successful in achieving the incorporation of STEM learning and sport.

“(The kids) almost feel like it’s not a structured education…it’s disguised learning,” Golner said. “They’re very eager to participate because they don’t feel like it’s part of a regular type of curriculum that they’re normally going through throughout the day.”

In addition to the sports modules already available, STEM Sports is planning on expanding to golf, baseball and softball modules in the near future.