Baseball videoconference hits homer for learning math skills

Minetto Elementary students Joshua King and Makensie Sinclair stand in front of a display in the school library depicting all the places students have connected with during videoconferences this school year.
Minetto Elementary students Joshua King and Makensie Sinclair stand in front of a display in the school library depicting all the places students have connected with during videoconferences this school year.

Submitted by Oswego County BOCES

Fifth-grade students at Minetto Elementary School took a virtual trip to Cooperstown on Monday, where they got a glimpse of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and learned how basic mathematics skills are applied on the diamond.

Everything from calculating a player’s batting average to determining a pitcher’s earned run average requires common math formulas.

Bruce Markusen, an educational adviser with the National Baseball Hall of Fame who helped facilitate the virtual connection, said numbers are used in nearly every aspect of the game.

“We see lots of numbers, from the scoreboard to the jerseys,” Markusen said. “We see numbers when we’re measuring the distance between bases. We can precisely use measurements to lay out exactly what a major league field looks like.”

The videoconference, which was coordinated through the Oswego County BOCES Distance Learning program in partnership with the Oswego City School District and the National Baseball Hall of Fame, gave students an opportunity to see how math is used to compile a player’s batting statistics.

“You have to divide the number of hits by the number of at-bats to determine a player’s batting average,” Markusen told students in Margie Malone’s class.

To help the fifth-graders gain a better understanding of the relationship between math and baseball, Markusen engaged the students in a friendly homerun derby competition.

Divided into two teams and armed with calculators, pencils and paper, students took turns calculating batting averages for particular players – using data from actual games.

“It’s nice that there’s a bit of competition involved, but it’s even better that the students learn so much during the videoconference,” said Kimberly LeRoy, library media specialist at Minetto Elementary School. “It fits in well with what the fifth-grade class has been learning.”

LeRoy noted the school has worked with the Oswego County BOCES Distance Learning program to bring a variety of videoconferences to Minetto students throughout the school year.

Students have connected to classes across the country for a variety of offerings, including Turkey Disguise, The Mitten, Read around the Planet and Mystery through History.

“The kids just love these videoconferences and they get so much out of each one,” LeRoy said. “These are great learning opportunities.”

Students in Margie Malone’s fifth-grade class at Minetto Elementary School review a baseball-related math question during a videoconference that connected them with the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
Students in Margie Malone’s fifth-grade class at Minetto Elementary School review a baseball-related math question during a videoconference that connected them with the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
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