STEM Education and Sports

While seemingly unrelated, STEM education and athletics are becoming more and more intertwined.  In the recently released motion picture Moneyball baseball scouts and managers develop a mathematical and statistical analysis of players performances called sabermetrics.  Similarly, computer aided scheduling, which utilizes an algorithm to determine the complex recipe of home and away games, was first implemented during the 1997-1998 National Collegiate Athletic Association season.

There are also growing methods in which STEM fields are designed to appeal to students in the same ways that athletic competitions do.  Most notably FIRST Robotics, in which teams of students build robots and enter into athletic-like competitions.

More predictably, STEM fields are also impacting sporting equipment and technological components of athletics as safety concerns rise.  In June 2011 the House Science Committee on “STEM Education in Action” addressed the success of the Toshiba/NSTA ExploraVision National Science Competition, in which a group of grade schoolers built a prototype for the HEADS UP! HELMET.  The product is a helmet that not only protects soldiers from traumatic brain injury, but one that also can be used on the playing field for high-contact sports such as football in coming years in an effort to “help prevent the growing number of concussions in children and athletes.”

Posted by: Carolyn Bantz

Sources: The Atlantic, FIRST Robotics, HEADS UP! HELMET, Science Daily, US House Committee on Science

Photo credit: Moneyball Movie courtesy of flickr user pursuethepassion.

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