Opening Day was a few weeks ago and now the baseball season is really swinging (pun intended). Out of all the sports, baseball might be the one best suited for leveraging in lessons.
Here are some lesson ideas for each of the four major subject areas.
History: What About the Girls?
Above all else, baseball is all about history and tradition. It’s the only major American sport that has been around for more than 150 years. That history lives at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY, but not everyone can make that field trip. Luckily, they have a remarkable website filled with lesson plans organized into whole units. Here is a unit exploring the little-known history of women in the national pastime, including players (think “A League of Their Own”), executives, and reporters. Girls might turn off at the mere mention of baseball. This is a way to get them back in the game.
Math: Fun with Baseball Stats
With the extensive analysis available to teams and fans, statistics run baseball more than ever. Students can track the stats of their favorite players, of course, perhaps organizing themselves into a fantasy baseball game. This lesson from the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics goes a little deeper, showing middle school students how some of those statistics are gathered and how one player compares to another. You might want to think of ways of updating the lesson with today’s technology, though.
Science: Forces in Motion
There are no hits, throws, or catches without physics. Another unit from the Hall of Fame explores how force, gravity, inertia, and acceleration affects the action on a baseball field. Older students can wade into concepts like aerodynamics, friction, and Newton’s Three Laws of Motion. Visual aides can include some video from a recent game—better yet—a cross-curricular event with your PE department, organizing a game where they can see the concepts for themselves.
English: Baseball Memories
Most everyone has a memory having to do with baseball. In this lesson from PBS and Ken Burns, students conduct oral history interviews with friends or family about their most vivid baseball memory. Then, they journalistically report their findings on a blog, video clip, social media, or whatever outlet you think is best. Giving the kids the ability to see just how little the game has changed in the past few generations should be an interesting experience.