STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) help build essential skills kids need for school and in their future careers. STEM classes have the added benefit of improving problem solving, creativity, and adaptability that come with these subjects. Here at Spark Math we not only excel in putting the “M” in STEM, we know the importance of making STEM part of everyday life. In this blog, we are going to explore some of the ways STEM subjects are part of the sports and games kids love. Check out the amazing ways that sports and games are the best 6th Grade STEM Activities!
Level up with Gaming & STEM
Playing video games is an exciting way for friends to hang out online or a career for players good enough to become pro gamers, but is it good for learning? According to a study by Radboud University, video games help cognition, social-emotional learning, and are even beneficial in medical education. Video games are an immersive, engaging, and fun way for problem solvers to use STEM concepts in a rewarding way. Here are some popular games and how they use STEM concepts.
Super Mario Maker
There are no characters more representative of video games than the best-mustachioed plumbers from Brooklyn, the Super Mario Bros. The Super Mario series of games has been a staple for players of all ages since the 1980s. Nintendo has always considered the importance of education in games, using Mario to help teach everything from typing to geography.
Today with Super Mario Maker, a game by Nintendo, gamers can not only play as Mario but build their own levels that can be played by other people around the world. Students engineer level designs taking into consideration the game’s physics, available building pieces, character patterns, and so much more. Levels have been built to do everything from an unbearably hard challenge to a fun way to practice addition and subtraction. With Super Mario Maker, students use STEM concepts to develop and conquer engaging challenges.
- Problem Solving
Minecraft is a game that took building blocks to the next level. In this game, players collect different types of materials and minerals, from wood to diamond, to build and create items, worlds, machines, and anything they can imagine. In order for these creations to work properly, players must take into consideration how different resources work together, both in the game and in real life. This game is a great way for kids to explore, experiment, and problem solve especially with its educational specific version.
For over a decade, Minecraft has been an engaging way to learn STEM skills, that children love. Parents, educators, and even New York City’s school systems have built curriculums and challenges using Minecraft to teach STEM skills. Minecraft can be a constructive outlet for kids to unleash their creativity and learn new STEM skills.
- Problem Solving
Sports: Math In action
Sports and education go hand in hand. From playing the first game of dodgeball in gym class to adding extracurricular activities to a college application, sports and physical education are an important part of learning. Athletics and academics don’t have to be opposites. Sports are an exciting and interactive way to use STEM concepts while both playing and watching your favorite teams. Here are some STEM skills perfect for engaging and excelling in sports.
Training isn’t a game
Athletes work hard to build the training plan that works for them. Measurement is a major aspect of what makes a workout plan succeed or fail. For an Olympic-level swimmer like Michael Phelps, a workout needs to take into consideration the energy needed to perform at his best, the amount of cardio he needed to do, and even how long his body needed to recover. Michael Phelps ate up to 12,000 calories a day when training, in order to make sure his body had the energy to stay in top shape. With all the work it takes to become successful, the best athletes make sure to get the best help in their training.
Top athletes use the knowledge of a team of STEM all-stars to become the best. Trainers, who understand biology and measurement, build the best food and exercise plans. Engineers build new technology and machines to keep athletes training hard while keeping themselves safe. From the field to the training room sports is about working hard and problem solving, and with the right STEM knowledge, the best athletes succeed at both.
Fantasy sports skills make real world champions!
If fans want to prove they’re sports fanatics, they need to play and win a fantasy sports league. Fantasy sports competitions are interactive and fun game groups play, where they pick players in a sport (like Football, Baseball, Basketball, etc.) and earn points based on their performances. The key is to find the best players who give a fantasy team the best odds to win. The key to finding the best players doesn’t start with passion it starts with math and statistics.
Baseball’s obsession with statistics wasn’t just for fantasy baseball anymore. Major League Baseball teams use statistics to build winning teams. Many smaller teams who don’t have the budgets of the New York Yankees or LA Dodgers, started using “The Moneyball Theory” when hiring players. They started using statistics to find the best players available for the right price and build stronger teams on lower budgets. Who knew that all-star teams were built with statistics and accounting?
Check out more ways math and baseball work together in this blog Math in Sports: Baseball and Mathematics!
Build STEM and Math Skills With Spark!
Looking for more fun and interactive STEM activities for every grade? Check out our Spark Math blog for great news and activities the whole family can enjoy. Looking for a weekly online class filled with learning activities, gamified learning, and all led by real experienced math teachers? Sign up to try a free demo class today! Looking for more great resources, blogs, and activities from Spark Math for the summer? Check out our Pinterest Page!