Action Math Baseball remains popular with educators, students
Pirates Charities Action Math Baseball is an integrated math program for students in grades four through eight. Via the program, students learn math skills through baseball statistics in a way that's fun and engaging, using statistics from current Pirates players to compete against one another in simulated baseball games.
Action Math Baseball -- a curriculum-based program suitable for in-school and after-school programs -- promotes higher order science, technology, engineering and math skills (STEM).
This was the first year an online version of the program was implemented, integrating technology into the program and allowing kids to use math to create player probability wheel cards through the online program.
Pirates Charities, with the support of Pirates General Manager Neal Huntington and his wife Becca, offer the program beginning in January each year. The competition concludes when the Pirates host the Action Math Baseball World Series at PNC Park, which this year took place on May 5.
This year, more than 1,700 kids from 21 different schools, charter schools and after-school programs participated in Action Math Baseball. A regional elimination-style tournament began during the first week of April, and the winner from each class received a chance to become Pittsburgh's World Series champion.
Pirates Charities, with generous support from the Huntingtons, underwrites the cost of Action Math Baseball, including instructional classroom kits, teacher training, and other program expenses.
Ben Barrett, an elementary computer teacher for the Valley Grove School District, is one of the many educators who see great value in the program. He shared the online version of Action Math Baseball with about 150 sixth, seventh and eighth graders.
"Before we were reaching 30 or 40 kids a year but using the online version instead of paper and pencil enabled us to reach a lot more kids," Barrett said. "The Action Math Baseball program is doing great things for meeting the Pennsylvania state standards and getting kids fluent with their math facts -- like being able to convert between fractions, decimals and percentages. This has been a great supplement in order to increase ability for our students."
Again, the idea is to present math in a different way that's a little more fun, a little more interesting, and doesn't seem quite so much like work.
Did Barrett find that to be the case?
"Definitely. It exactly accomplishes that goal," he said. "It's a nice, blended connection of sports and math."