Sports and science, technology, engineering, math and the arts complement each other.
Football and STEAM education might not seem like a logical tandem on the surface. Through deeper exploration, we discover these seemingly opposite activities are a complementary match in inspiring young people to explore new subjects and further define their passions, futures and career opportunities. The game of football is influenced by fundamental principles of science and incorporates subjects from physics to geometry to material science. Applying these concepts can be the ultimate common denominator for kids entering a formal or informal learning environment with questions about why STEAM matters, why it’s relevant or why it’s cool. Solving for that last question is crucial to engagement.
The future of experience-based STEAM programming takes on even more importance as the landscape of nationwide education policy continues to take shape. Even without the specter of decreased funding or a reconstruction of nationwide academic standards, the idea of students accessing eye-opening and longitudinal learning opportunities outside of their daily school environments is something that lands easily and positively on an educator’s ears as they examine every possible way to activate the intrigue and potential of their learners.
As an NFL athlete and STEAM education advocate, I understand the importance of applied learning. In April 2017, I hosted the second annual Kelvin Konnects STEAM initiative in my hometown of Mexia, Texas, for the entire school district. The three-day camp offers STEAM programming, interactive activities and museum-type exhibits for students to witness how the disciplines they learn in the classroom can be applied to daily experiences.
The San Francisco 49ers STEAM Education Program creates a path to engagement with STEAM subjects by using football and Levi’s Stadium to demystify subjects such as environmental sustainability, structural engineering and physics. We leverage the power of the game, the players and the most tech-savvy sports venue in the world to open kids’ hearts and minds to subjects for which they may believe they have no aptitude for or interest in. The program lessons help them understand these concepts are actually tangible, approachable and easy to see in real life. The goal is to light a fire that says to them: “The things that I like are made possible by the things I study.”
Continue onto U.S. News & World Report to read the complete Op-Ed.