By Meghan Davis, intern, ALA Public Programs Office
Sometimes teaching opportunities arise in places where you’d least expect them.
With baseball playoffs approaching, we are looking to “America’s pastime” as a way to engage and enlighten young people — and not just about sports, but a range of seemingly unrelated topics.
The National Baseball Hall of Fame offers resources for teachers — and librarians! — to connect baseball to curricula for a variety of ages: rookie (elementary school), intermediate (middle school) and advanced-(high school).
The Hall of Fame offers some fee-based resources, but they also offer a plethora of free lesson plans on a variety of subjects. Math, science, social studies, the arts and character education are all themes that students can explore through the lens of baseball. The topics offered on the website are different from typical baseball-related math problems, giving students a fresh take on how they can apply their studies to the sport.
Here are some highlights from some of the lessons:
Geography: Coast to Coast
• Map-reading: Students analyze locations of baseball stadiums throughout the country
• Transportation: Students examine transportation history and how it impacted baseball. (For example, did you know that as airplanes became a standard method of travel, more major league teams began relocating to the West Coast?)
• Demographics: Kids learn to calculate population density to determine how it impacts teams’ locations
• Culture: Students discuss various aspects of culture reflected in ballparks
Communication Arts: Going, Going, Gone!
• Media: Students study sports reporting through baseball’s history, from the newspaper to the blog
• Media and technology: Students learn how technology influences the way people receive news
• The power of the pen: This lesson explores how powerful a reporter’s point of view is in shaping a story
• Celebrities: Students discuss celebrities’ portrayal in the media and their status as role models
Women’s History: Dirt on their Skirts
• Stereotypes: Examine how women have challenged sports norms (For example, Effa Manley was one of the first females involved in running a baseball team and used her position to lobby for equal rights in New York City)
• Women’s sports history: Study women’s teams and leagues in American history
• Women and work: Analyze how women in baseball led to increased opportunities for modern-day women
• Inequality in the media: Consider gender equality in the field of sports journalism