RIC, PawSox pitch education on the field

As baseball season winds down for the year, Robin Kirkwood-Auld, RIC associate professor of health and physical education, reflected on her second season at the PawSox’s McCoy Stadium, helping K-12 students take baseball from the field into the classroom.

“I really enjoyed the cross department collaboration to make this event such a success,” said Kirkwood-Auld.

This year’s School Celebration Days, which are educational events held prior to Paw Sox baseball games, were made possible by a collaboration between RIC’s Physical Education, History and Elementary Education Departments and the Pawtucket Red Sox.

For the project, Kirkwood-Auld was joined by Kerri Tunnicliffe, associate professor health and physical education; Robert Cvornyek, professor of history; and Bennet Lombardo, professor of health and physical education, to develop a curriculum guide that integrates baseball with grade school lessons, to create the School Celebration Days activities. The curriculum guide is available on the Paw Sox website as a public resource for any teacher who would like to incorporate baseball into the classroom.

About 50 RIC education majors helped run “activity circuits” prior to the Paw Sox games of April 28 and May 13. The circuits included four stations: one that merged baseball and math by calculating batting and pitching averages; baseball and science by measuring heart-rate and levels of exercise intensity; baseball and history focusing on Pawtucket’s baseball trivia; and baseball and language through a word scramble game.

The activity circuits were developed by RIC students Hilary Switzer, Gina Corvese, Ryan Silva, Bobby Fournier, Greg Rakovic, and Steve DaRosa.

RIC students and faculty also led classroom activities for the children under the hospitality tent.

This year marked the movement from a single event to a series and, according to Kirkwood-Auld, a significant improvement in attendance. Last year the school celebration day drew a crowd of 200 students. This year the event had twice as many activity circuits and drew crowds of 300, despite a rainy first day, and 600 on the second day.

“From a physical education point of view, it is important to get children active,” said Kirkwood-Auld, “Most children enjoy being active, therefore, showing teachers how to integrate movement with math, science, language arts and social studies can be mutually beneficial.”