SportTechie Feature “Science of Sport Seeks to Grow Its Impact in STEM Education”

Check out this Science of Sport feature on SportTechie!

“The day after the Los Angeles Dodgers clinched a berth in their second-straight NLCS was a warm and pleasant afternoon in Southern California. A group of educators gathered in an auditorium at Worthington Elementary in Inglewood, Calif., clad in blue. Smiles and chatter filled the room. Not because the local nine—Dodger Stadium is just 11 miles away—was on its way toward another hopeful World Series berth, but because the teachers were playing around with baseball itself, learning how pitches and base running can be used to demonstrate math and physics concepts.

The event was organized by Science of Sport, a non-profit foundation that aims to use sports to promote science, technology, engineering, and math education. Now in its fifth year of operation, the organization has served more than 100,000 students across nine different states. The Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation is one of the newest believers in SoS and its method of inspiring both educators and students alike.

“For more than two decades, the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation has worked to drive positive change and strengthen some of the most challenged communities in the greater Los Angeles region. At the core of our mission is the significant impact of sports as an engagement tool to get kids and families access to educational, health and recreational resources—keeping them active and supporting their academic success,” said Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation Executive Director Nichol Whiteman. “We strongly believe that education programs, like Science of Baseball, can provide access, opportunity and innovation to youth at critical engagement stages.”

When University of Arizona associate engineering professor Ricardo Valerdi founded Science of Sport in 2013, he was looking to use the power of sports to inspire engagement and redirect that towards learning.

“I read Moneyball, and the light bulb went off,” Valerdi said Ricardo. “I asked myself ‘Why can’t we use baseball statistics to teach kids math?’ Then, we started doing it, seeing the ways kids responded, and then the bulbs really started flashing. We knew we’d found something.”

Valerdi, along with executive director Daren Heaton, has turned the small upstart operation, which initially only used baseball as a teaching too, into a diverse organization running teacher trainings, STEM showcases, and more.

SoS is also currently developing a game app to expand the reach of its curriculum, and to make it more accessible to younger, more digitally connected, generations. “We know the power that gamification can bring to learning. With our app, we’ll be able to transform the paper curriculum into something that digital natives can relate to,” Heaton said. “It allows us and our content to live in their world, which will make us more effective.”

Valerdi and Heaton believe that the app will allow the organization to grow by two orders of magnitude, reaching another 100,000 students and integrating its teaching techniques with more sports, within the next five to 10 years.

“If we continue to produce good content, build an appealing app and it’s available on the Apple Store, anything is possible,” said Valerdi.

The app is a partnership between Science of Sport and dfusion, an app developer that typically focuses on health and wellness solutions. dfusion’s Jill Denner and Tamara Kuhn are bringing the technical and research-based expertise to the development of the project, while SoS is providing the content and teaching knowhow.

“I am excited to partner with the dynamic and innovative team from Science of Sport to extend the work that my colleagues and I have been doing on equity and inclusion in STEM,” Denner said. “The game is being designed with an eye toward engaging females and underrepresented minorities in STEM fields, and is being informed by educational and learning sciences research.”

At Worthington Elementary on Oct. 9, Science of Sport’s focus was concentrated on teachers, rather than students, because just like an app, individual educators can reach out to a multitude of students. Even in a digital world, developing teachers remains a key part of what SoS does.

“Experiences like this are extremely important,” said Nicole Elliott, a second and third grade teacher at Worthington. “Many of our kids don’t get to go to games, to do lots of these things … being able to provide things like this for them is awesome. These are very different kinds of activities we are learning about today. We don’t do things like that here at school, kids are going to love these.”

Gilbert Lopez, another second and third grade educator at Worthington, believes making connections with something his students are familiar with can help reinforce key learning concepts. “I’m a big believer in baseball, I use it in a lot of the things we do in class,” he said. “It’s something they love and see every day, which makes it something that helps them learn more easily.”

Jesse Lovejoy is the Director of 49ers EDU and the 49ers Museum. He’s also Managing Partner of EDU Academy, which was created to help organizations understand how to harness the power of sport to introduce STEAM education programming. In his free time, he hangs out with his wife Stephanie, daughter Vivienne, and their two rescue dogs, Buster and Lucy, and nerds out on different ways to inspire young learners.”

Science of Sport and Metropolitan Youth Foundation

Science of Sport recently began a partnership with Kerry Williams, Jr. and the Metropolitan Youth Foundation in Louisiana. Together, Science of Sport is helping to promote the growth of Louisiana children by bringing sports into the classroom and making STEM concepts come to life! Here is a little more about the Metropolitan Youth Foundation:


Metropolitan Youth Foundation, Inc. is a youth organization founded by Kerry T. Williams, Jr. and his wife, Stephanie. Kerry believes that the youth are our greatest strength and has coached and mentored children of various ages through a variety of programs over the past 35 years. Helping young people through a program that offers physical activity, academic enrichment, and mentorship is his vision for Metropolitan.

Kerry T. Williams, Jr. said, “Of all the partnerships Metropolitan Youth Foundation share, the most exciting, informative, attention grabber and most impressive is the Science of Sport! Metropolitan Youth Foundation engages our youth with an holistic approach to learning through sports.  Our goal is to create the best student-athletes around.  Science of Sport not only will assist us in doing so, but it will headline as a premier component of our organization! Science of Sport is the only program present in all programming aspects of MYF, such as MindStar (tutoring), MetroSteam (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics Clubs, MYSL (sports leagues), and PlaySafe (Student Athletes Fundamentals and Education). PlaySafe is the sports instruction initiative of Metropolitan Youth Foundation and employs an educational component to ensure our participants receive skills enhancement that will help them in school.”

The partnership between the Metropolitan Youth Foundation and Science of Sport has Kerry very excited about the upcoming Fall programs in New Orleans. He said, “Science of Sport has given us a tremendous edge necessary to set MYF apart from any other after school program!”

To learn more about the Metropolitan Youth Foundation or to get in contact with Kerry:



Check out their website to learn more! If you would like to partner with Science of Sport, please email us at

MLB Youth Academy Science of Baseball Summer Camps 2018

This summer, 170 campers will experience the Science of Baseball brought to life, all thanks to the Science of Sport and the MLB Youth Academies in Compton, New Orleans, and West Dallas.


A typical program consists of an educational 2-5 week summer camp where the MLB Science of Baseball curriculum aligns with Mathematics and Science Standards in California, Louisiana, and Texas. Selected campers spend their summer learning about various aspects of STEM and how it ultimately relates to baseball, careers, and overall life skills.


Teachers from schools surrounding the Youth Academies also have the opportunity to sign up for a Teacher Workshop to bring the program back to their classrooms. These teachers are provided with a curriculum workbook complete with lessons, worksheets and a kit containing all of the materials they will need to carry out each lesson at their school. These kits contain tools from whiffle balls and baseball cards to goniometers and heart rate monitors.


Daren Heaton, Executive Director of Science of Sport, explains the day-by-day breakdown of the program. He says, “during the camp the students are split up into two groups. In the morning the we have the younger students start in the classroom and focus on a different topic from the MLB Science of Baseball curriculum. On any given day the students are learning about trajectory of ball flight, focusing on reaction time, fielding percentage, studying their favorite baseball players, and learning their strike zones. In the afternoon the students are applying what they learned in the classroom, in hopes to help them become a more well rounded baseball or softball player.”


The first day of each week’s session consists of pre-test questions that are later evaluated with post-test questions at the end of the week. This cycle continues for every week of camp. Examples of lesson concepts include: baseball positions, base running, batting averages, rounding and place value, trajectory of ball flight, reaction time, seat pricing and revenue, scoring, and nutrition. The lead instructors work hard to incorporate growth mindset concepts throughout the lessons as well, emphasizing the importance of effort and working hard to learn using different strategies and approaches to problem solving. At the conclusion of the program, the campers get the opportunity to go on a field trip and display their projects they worked on throughout the summer.


Ricardo Valerdi, Ph.D., Founder and Chief Scientist of Science of Sport, says the “partnership with Major League Baseball is critical in terms of player development because you can not only show a young student how to play baseball, but if you can also empower them with math and science skills they are more likely to be successful not just on the field but in the classroom.”


The main objective of the Science of Sport is to empower students who may be underperforming academically by relating core curriculum topics to their athletic strengths, capabilities, and interests. When the last few days of summer come to a close, and the campers return back to the classroom full time, the Science of Sport hopes the campers have a newfound appreciation, understanding, and passion for the science and mathematics behind the beautiful game of baseball. In additional to the baseball curriculum, Science of Sport also provides football, basketball and soccer programs for students throughout the country.


Arizona Diamondbacks Science of Baseball Presented by Chase and Insight

The Arizona Diamondbacks Science of Baseball presented by Chase and Insight launched in 2013 as a series of programs and initiatives that promote the importance of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). The curriculum and training for Arizona elementary and middle school teachers is offered free of charge thanks to a charitable contribution from the Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation, Chase, and Insight.



Translate the American love of baseball into an appreciation, understanding, and passion of the science and mathematics underlying the sport.

Program Details:

  • Development of the Arizona Diamondbacks Science of Baseball curriculum for 3rd – 8th grade levels which included 25 lessons that focused on different STEM concepts.
  • Hosted multiple Arizona Diamondbacks Science of Baseball teacher trainings for teachers from across Arizona.
  • Provided an Arizona Diamondbacks Science of Baseball kit for every teacher.
  • Developed a web portal that included all of the lessons, worksheets and additional resources for teachers to use in the classroom.
  • Developed a planning packet that included 15 Diamondbacks themed projects.
  • Supported the student showcase in which schools attended a Diamondbacks game to discuss projects on the concourse and participate in activities.
  • Provided an evaluation and assessment for those teachers who attended the workshop.


Through the support from the Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation, Chase, and Insight, we were able to have the following impact through the Arizona Diamondbacks Science of Baseball Program:

  • More than 13,000 students
  • More than 400 teachers
  • More than 300 schools have participated in the program.

Links to Check Out:


2017 Teacher Workshops:

Arizona teachers got to spend a day at Chase Field before the game to attend an Arizona Diamondbacks Science of Baseball Teacher Workshop where they all received the full Science of Baseball curriculum as well as a kit containing all the materials they need to bring Science of Baseball to life in their classroom. Not only did the teachers learn the curriculum, but they got to explore Chase Field and do some of the activities that their students will be doing at school.


2017 Student Camps:

Arizona Diamondbacks Science of Baseball hosted a Student Camp of 50 South Mountain Little Leaguers at Chase Field. Students spent the morning in the clubhouse learning STEM concepts through baseball examples, ate lunch in the stands, and put their morning learning to work on the field with the help of the Dbacks Baseball Academy coaches. Students won prizes for participation and initiative and got to go home with a bat and ball set, a Science of Baseball t-shirt, and a new mindset about math and science!


Curriculum Contents:

Lesson 1 – Baseball Positions

Students learn the defensive and offensive positions on the field as well as the different areas of the field.

Lesson 2 – Favorite Baseball Player

Students will research the birthplace of their favorite baseball player, measure the distance from their home to their team’s stadium, track their performance during a 1-week period, and describe how good the player is relative to his teammates and players in the same position on other teams.

Lesson 3 – Scoring

Students learn the basics of scoring.

Lesson 4 – Strike Zone

Students learn how to measure their strike zone.

Lesson 5 – Baseball Statistics

Students learn about mathematical and statistical analysis of baseball records (i.e., sabermetrics) by analyzing data on baseball cards.  This includes offensive (batting average, slugging percentage, etc.), defensive (fielding percentage, errors, etc.), and pitching statistics (ERA, WHIP, etc.).

Lesson 6 – Baseball Field Geometry

Students explore the dimensions of the baseball field such as distances between home plate and the pitching mound, location of foul lines and foul poles, and various angles within the infield associated with successful batting.

Lesson 7 – Nutrition for Peak Performance

Students learn the basic food groups and the relationship between a healthy diet and athletic performance.  Students also learn how to read food labels and identify daily values for various food components such as fat, cholesterol, carbohydrates, fiber, sodium, protein, etc.

Lesson 8 – Physiology

Students will learn the relationship between activity levels and heart rate.  This will expose them to the broader topic of physiology, namely the connection between exercise level and heart rate.

Lesson 9 – Biomechanics

Students learn about the musculoskeletal system and its role in providing form, support, stability, and movement.  Special emphasis is placed on the shoulder tendons and their rotational limits during throwing motion.  Students also learn about the center of mass and how it changes during swinging and throwing movements.

Lesson 10 – Batter Reaction Time

Students learn how much time batters have to react to pitches at different speeds and from different distances.

Lesson 11 – Fielding Percentage

Students learn how to measure fielding percentage by catching baseball cards.  Special emphasis is placed on the role of hand-eye coordination and its influence on fielding abilities.

Lesson 12 – Trajectory of Ball Flight

Students explore the effects of different angles of trajectory on the flight distance of a baseball.  The role of angles, velocity, and spin are taken into account.  Environmental conditions such as weather, temperature, and altitude are also considered.

Lesson 13 – Elasticity

Students explore the physical properties of materials (e.g., baseballs, softballs, tennis balls) and their interactions to external forces (e.g., bats, gloves).  The effects of gravity and surfaces are analyzed to understand the expected behavior of a ball in play.

Lesson 14 – Weight Shifting

Students will learn how to shift their weight to generate power when hitting and throwing.  Simple measurements of weight distribution (using scales) will help illustrate the amount of weight needed to maximize angular velocity.

Lesson 15 – Base Running

Students explore the effects of angular momentum in the context of base running.

Lesson 16 – Data Visualization

Students visualize large amounts of data and draw conclusions based on the statistical distributions.  Data include heat maps of strike zones and spray charts of batted balls.

Lesson 17 – Baseball Strategy

Students analyze data to determine the effects of home field advantage and the impact of slugging percentage.

Lesson 18 – Aerodynamics

Students will learn about the aerodynamic properties of a ball in flight and the influence of spin on its trajectory.

Lesson 19 – Seat Pricing and Revenue

Students will calculate the expected revenue from ticket sales at different ballparks based on pricing, seat capacity, and other revenue streams such as merchandise, parking, and concessions.

Lesson 20 – Road Trips

Students will estimate how many miles teams travel during a road trip and use this information to forecast how many total miles they will travel during the season.

Lesson 21 – Sports Vision

Students learn how to identify their dominant eye and the importance of depth perception.

Lesson 22 – Bat Chooser

Students learn how to find the appropriate bat size based on their height, weight, and strength.

Lesson 23 – Baseball Versus Other Sports

Students compare baseball to other sports in terms of winning percentages.

Lesson 24 – Home Runs Per Stadium

Students analyze how many home runs were hit in each ballpark.

Lesson 25 – National League Versus American League

Students compare statistics for both MLB leagues.

Arizona Tax Credit Donation


Your Arizona Tax Credit Can Help Science of Sport Impact More Students Throughout Arizona

Arizona taxpayers may support our programs for students through a donation to Science of Sport as a Qualifying Charitable Organization (QCO) until April 17, 2018 and receive a dollar-for-dollar tax credit against your 2017 state tax liability.

The limits for 2017 a Qualifying Charitable Organization allow for up to $400 for single filers and up to $800 married/joint filling.

FAQ’s for Arizona State Taxpayers

Beginning with the 2016 tax year, credit eligible contributions made to a Qualifying Charitable Organization or Qualifying Foster Care Charitable Organization that are made on or before April 16th (the 15th day of the fourth month following the close of the taxable year) may be applied to either the current or the preceding taxable year and is considered to have been made on the last day of that taxable year.

NOTE: Because calendar year filers have until April 17, 2018, to file their 2017 tax return, these taxpayers also have until April 17, 2018, to make qualifying contributions and claim these credits on their 2017 Arizona return. Donations made in 2018 are not deductible on 2017 federal filings. Please consult with a tax advisor. The tax credits are only available to individuals who file taxes in Arizona. 


Click here for a printable donation form.

Tax ID # 46-3843390

For more information please visit the State of Arizona Department of Revenue at AZDOR.GOV. You can also contact Science of Sport at (602)525-3197 or email



Atlanta Braves Science of Baseball Program, presented by Xfinity

The Atlanta Braves Science of Baseball program, presented by Xfinity provides hands-on STEM curriculum and programming to 6th-8th grade level teachers and students in Georgia.

Increase student awareness of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields as a future education and career option.
Motivate students to excel despite obstacles
Provide a measurable opportunity for individual transformation
Establish a framework for sustainable change.


Program Details:

  • Development of the Braves Science of Baseball curriculum for 6th – 8th grade levels which included 15 lessons that focused on different STEM concepts.
  • Hosted a Braves Science of Baseball teacher training for 25 teachers from Cobb County School District.
  • Provided a Braves Science of Baseball kit for every teacher.
  • Developed a web portal that included all of the lessons, worksheets and additional resources for teachers to use in the classroom.
  • Developed a planning packet that included 4 Braves themed projects.
  • Supported the student showcase in which schools attended a Braves game to discuss projects on the concourse.
  • Provided an evaluation and assessment for those teachers who attended the workshop.


Through the support from Comcast and the Atlanta Braves we were able to have the following impact through the Braves Science of Baseball Program:

  • 4,000 students were impacted from the Braves Science of Baseball Program
  • 25 teachers attended the workshop
  • 8 schools from Cobb County School District participated in the program


Cobb County School District participating Schools:

  • Dickerson Middle School
  • Mabry Middle School
  • Dodgen Middle School
  • Griffin Middle School
  • Lost Mountain Middle School
  • Gooden Middle School
  • McClure Middle School
  • Simpson Middle School

Teacher Workshop – March 14, 2017:

This unique professional development opportunity provided teachers with a hands-on Braves Science of Baseball curriculum and all of the materials and classroom kits needed to implement this interactive curriculum into their classroom. A big thank you to Braves and Comcast for making this opportunity available to Cobb County teachers.

Braves Science of Baseball Teacher Survey Results – Sept 2017



STEM Showcase – May 20th, 2017:

Schools that participated in the teacher workshop from Cobb County had the opportunity to attend the Braves game on May 20th to display the projects they had been working on over the past two months. During that two month period, Atlanta Braves representatives and players were able to visit the schools to see the implementation of the Braves Science of Baseball program.


PR Links:

Curriculum Contents:

Lesson 1 – Baseball Positions

Lesson 2 – Strike Zone

Lesson 3 – Baseball Statistics

Lesson 4 – Baseball Field Geometry

Lesson 5 – Bat Chooser

Lesson 6 – Physiology

Lesson 7 – Batter Reaction Time

Lesson 8 – Field Percentage

Lesson 9 – Launch Angle

Lesson 10 – Elasticity

Lesson 11 – Base Running

Lesson 12 – Aerodynamics

Lesson 13 – Sports Vision

Lesson 14 – Nutrition for Peak Performance

Lesson 15 – Baseball Versus Other Sports

Student Projects:

Option 1 – Which Ball Bounces Higher

Option 2 – Optimal Angle for a Home Run

Option 3 – Base Running and Angular Momentum

Option 4 – Baseball Pendulum

Science of baseball is big hit with middle-school students

An oversized wooden compass sits on the dusty baseball field. Three students stand next to it, holding a giant yellow slingshot pulled taut. The girl in the middle leans back, gaining traction, and releases, launching a tennis ball across the field at a perfect 45-degree angle.

They were among a dozen students from Mansfeld Magnet Middle School who took the field on Saturday, measuring ball trajectory and pitch velocity in a Science of Baseball camp.

Ricardo Valerdi, a professor in the University of Arizona Department of Systems and Industrial Engineering, started the camp three years ago.

Read More

Arizona Diamondbacks Science of Baseball Program

Launched in 2013, the Arizona Diamondbacks Science of Baseball presented by Chase and Insight, is a series of programs and initiatives that promote the importance of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). The program provides a mechanism for elementary and middle school students to improve their academic performance. The goal is to translate the American love of baseball into an appreciation, understanding, and passion of the science and mathematics underlying the sport.

This season-long program aims to engage and empower students with a university research-based curriculum, designed with College Professor and STEM Expert Ricardo Valerdi. To date, more than 50,000 students, 500 teachers, and 300 schools have participated in the program.

Teacher Workshops

The Arizona Diamondbacks provide free Science of Baseball teacher training sessions throughout the year. Teachers learn best practices on how to implement the program in their classroom. Teachers are also provided with the Arizona Diamondbacks Science of Baseball curriculum booklet and a supply kit. If you are interested in attending a teacher workshop register here. 



Student Camps

The Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation, Chase, and Insight provide Science of Baseball day camps throughout the year to non-profit kids’ organizations. Camps include classroom lessons and on-field activities. For more information, email

STEM Showcase

The D-backs Science of Baseball STEM Showcase presented by Chase and Insight will take place on September 22 during the D-backs vs. Miami Marlins game. The annual event looks to build upon the success of the 2016 STEM Showcase that featured over 40 participants showcasing STEM projects and initiatives throughout the ballpark.

Field Trip Shows

The Arizona Diamondbacks host STEM Field Trip Days which allow students to engage in STEM related activities throughout the ballpark. STEM Field Trip Days also have educational programming highlighted by our D-backs Science of Baseball Show that teaches the math and science behind baseball.
As an additional benefit, each student/teacher/chaperone in attendance will receive TWO TICKETS to attend a future D-backs home game. Tickets will be mailed to your school after the field trip. For more information visit