Each week, the Education World Great Sites for Teaching About ... page highlights Web sites to help educators work timely themes into their lessons. As children around the country grab their bats and gloves and head for their favorite fields, head for this week's great sites, among the best on the Web for baseball aficionados.
Subtitled the "official baseball history site," this treasure trove of baseball information is perfect for kids to use for problem solving, creative writing, social studies research, and science projects. Did you know that "Baseball-Almanac.com has two-thousand seven-hundred thirty-seven pages of baseball history, facts, stats, feats, original research, and more?" Neither did Education World! This sweeping collection offers many possibilities for inclusion in classroom studies.
- Baseball: The Game and Beyond
This well-designed ThinkQuest Web site examines the more-technical aspects of the game, including the skills play-by-play announcers need, the science of pitching and hitting, and the expertise umpiring requires. What's more, each section offers three levels of material, from the introductory to the expert, so everyone can enjoy the site regardless of level of baseball knowledge. Kids can learn about important concepts here: Why does a curve ball curve? How far will a ball travel? What role does friction play? The possibilities for classroom applications are awesome!
- Baseball and Math!
John F. Pattie Elementary School put together this ThinkQuest entry, which combines baseball trivia with mathematical computation. The bloopers page contains fun facts, and the three pages of math problems are arranged from easy to hard. Each page of problems has a calculator built right in and the opportunity to check answers. There are also two baseball word-find games for students to use online. This site offers a great opportunity for students to review basic skills as part of baseball studies!
- Baseball Reference
One offshoot of the "national pastime" is the compilation of baseball statistics and mythology. Baseball Reference is a fully searchable, one-stop site that brings together all the facts, figures, and lore fans crave. Here users will find everything from batting averages and career leaders to team profiles and birthdays. Links to news, analysis, and travel information make this site as useful as it is fun. Imagine the skills students can practice as they plan a week-long travel itinerary following the schedules of their favorite teams!
- Baseball Rulebook
Freezone presents this colorful site about the rules of the game. Topics include uniforms and equipment, hitting, officiating, and playing the game. Each page is short and concise, and links allow users easy progress through each section. The graphics are cartoonish in nature but nicely labeled and easy for kids to understand. If you want to introduce the basics of the game, this is a good site to start with.
- Batter's Up Baseball
This Flash-based hitting simulation requires students to correctly answer math problems in order to advance runners around the bases and score runs. Players select a level of difficulty and then answer problems as they appear on the screen. Correct answers count as singles, doubles, and homeruns. Each wrong answer is a strike, and a player gets three outs for a game. This is a slick version of a Web concept that has been around for a few years. Just be sure you've installed the free Flash plug-in before you introduce the game to your students!
- Major League Baseball
This is the official site of Major League Baseball, offering all the latest news, stats, and features a fan could ask for. You can surf to your favorite team's official site and participate in surveys, forums, and competitions. The schedules and guides can be great material for applying classroom skills to real-time applications, and the standings and statistics have lots of potential for computation and problem solving.
- The Negro Baseball Leagues
This site touts itself as the most comprehensive collection of online material on the Negro Leagues. The layout is similar to that of a site covering contemporary events, so news items and feature stories jump right out as visitors arrive. Information about the history of the league, the players, and the teams and lots of stats and trivia will help students appreciate how far baseball has come over the past 125 years. Best suited for older students, the Negro Baseball Leagues offers perspective and insight into an important part of baseball history.
- The Science of Baseball
The Exploratorium designed this award-winning site to help students appreciate the principles of physics that come into play in baseball. Audio and video clips and Shockwave simulations help make this site interactive and a lot of fun for learning. In How Far Can You Hit One? students can explore the science of hitting. Baseball Time Machine allows users to adjust a player's stats for comparison in any era in baseball, and Tools of the Trade covers baseball equipment and how it has changed over the years. The exhibits on fastball reaction time and the scientific slugger are especially engaging for young learners!
- This Day in Baseball History
This fast-loading page presents important baseball history events in chronological order. Although not every listing for a given day will be meaningful for your students, there are possibilities for making real connections between school curricula and specific events of the past. For example, if you're studying World War II, you can bring up significant events and establish the time relationships with events in baseball that occurred around the same time. Users can search by any date in a calendar year or the entire site by keyword. If you're studying World War II, you can bring up significant events that occurred within the context of baseball. This site promises high-interest integration for your students!
Article by Walter McKenzie
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