NBA, NFL Fans Say "They're GrrreaT!" Like The Tiger (Sports and STEM)

Honor Warren Wells TheTorch@dbintayaelSenior Writer IIAugust 5, 2009

What's your favorite sport or team? This question was posed on August 5, 2009. The class is  college algebra. College algebra is called a gateway to other subjects that are math dependent. Most college students take it and their degree plan requires it.

After 21 years of teaching at a two-year college, I am motivated to connect with learners (and fans, in general), hoping that they will apply what they learn to get a better understanding of their favorite sport and career.

I surveyed today's class. Look at this:

Sport                    Favorite

soccer                  Kaka, Real Madrid

basketball             Kobe Bryant, Lakers

basketball             Kobe Bryant, Lakers

football                Donovan McNabb, Eagles

basketball             Luis Scola, Rockets

football                Vince Young, Titans

snowboarding        Danny Cass, USA

basketball             Ray Allen, Celtics

basketball             Kobe Bryant, Lakers

basketball             Steve Nash, Suns

football                Eddie George, former Titan

football                Andre Johnson, Texans

football                Vince Young, Titans

soccer                  Christiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid

soccer                  Etoo Fils, Real Madrid

soccer                  Messi, FC Barcelona

football                 Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys

Here are student responses to the integration of Sports and STEM:

1. "Looking is superficial, but seeing is looking indepth, beneath the surface or beyond the natural eye.

"To fully understand sports, you have to understand the basics in math and science for it to be pleasurable. I believe it is required as oxygen is for life."

2.  "Basketball is an exciting sport for the fans to watch. It has never dawned on me that there is more to the game than what my natural eyes are seeing.

"There is math and science involved even in the entertainment of basketball. Sometimes it's not always about seeing, it is just knowing..."

This student wants to attend Pepperdine College on the West Coast. She wants to study "Sports Law" and someday practice law in that area.

3. A third student said: "Mathematics presents itself in mostly everything, including basketball.

"Rotating the semi-circle on a graph scoops out the shape of a basketball. Would a basketball player fair better in his career if he thought mathematically? I wonder?"

Analyzing the survey data we compiled by a selection process, we find the following:

1. Fifty-eight percent of the respondents like basketball.

2. Thirty-five percent of the respondents like football.

3. Seven percent like soccer and snowboarding. (Snowboarding in Texas??)

Good training and guidance is the key. For example, Lionel Messi is one of the best soccer players, no doubt, because he started his training and discipline at a very early age.

I conjecture that if we encourage the love of sports and the love of the areas that help make it what it is, we would have a generation of fans who shout that science, technology, engineering and mathematics are "GrrreaT," just as Tony shouts about frosted flakes!

Postlude: This article is dedicated to the college algebra class (Summer 2009) that promised to try to make straight A's in the future. =)

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