RIC, Pawsox Team Up for Baseball Education Day
Rhode Island College and the Pawtucket Red Sox teamed up to welcome about 1,000 local elementary and middle school children to the sixth annual Baseball in Education Days at McCoy Stadium.
Using the Baseball in Education Curriculum developed by RIC faculty, students participate in activity-based learning, which also promotes the integration of physical education into academic programs. RIC education majors develop the activities, based on the curriculum, and have children rotate through learning stations to take lessons in language arts, math, science and social studies.
“It’s to put a fun twist on the academics and shows how really interwoven baseball is to academic subjects,” said Robin Kirkwood Auld, associate professor of health and physical education at RIC. For example, to understand the concept of inflation, students compare the prices at the concession stand today to prices in the past.
The students also take lessons from physical education majors on a field adjacent to the Paw Sox field. Field activities this year included having students throw pitches standing still and then throwing them in what is known as a ‘crow hop,’ in which the students moved about while maintaining a throwing position. The pitches were timed and then students learned why pitches were faster during the ‘crow hop’ phase.
“Right away they knew it was because they could use momentum,” Auld said. “They were able to (learn by) something they can experience. They are actually doing it rather than just being told about it.”
The day also gives local teachers the opportunity to learn about integrating physical education into academic subjects. Auld said there are normally 10 to 15 participating schools and that two or three teachers chaperone each group.
“Integration is something (educators) are talking about all the time," Auld said. “We will always teach math and language arts in traditional ways, but we can also integrate those lessons nontraditionally through other programs, including physical education."
Auld noted that including RIC students in the program allows them to acquire outside-the-classroom experience in working with children and in developing activities appropriate for children of different ages.
The Paw Sox also participate, taking children on tours of the Paw Sox Hall of Fame and by putting trivia questions on the stadium’s Jumbotron during the game that follows the day’s educational activities.