The secret to real learning—learning that lasts—is total engagement. When students are fully engaged in their work—working in a real-world context, using vocabulary, skills, and concepts familiar to experts in the field—learning happens naturally. When students are truly absorbed in meaningful work, memorization, drill and practice, and worksheets become unnecessary.
The trick is not just to engage students in the first place, that is the easy part. The trick is to keep students engaged.
The activities in this module use baseball as their real-world context. The stories that you will find in the Background section of each activity are true. They tell about real things that happen to real baseball and softball players. From the context of the story flows a challenging task that requires students to design and conduct an experiment or use a mathematics concept.
This strategy is called Total Engagement Learning.
An activity in the context of something real gives students a reason to learn. And authentic activities work!
They engage students for three reasons:
- Rickey Henderson – USA Today
- CONTEXT – A real-world context makes learning meaningful.
- PURPOSE – An authentic activity gives students a reason to learn and use concepts and skills.
DIFFERENTIATION – Authentic activities demonstrate how people with different skills, interests and jobs can all use and apply the things we are learning in school. In the classroom this means role playing, and role playing means natural differentiation.
Each activity comes in an online Student Version and an MSWord Teacher Version. Make a copy of the Student Version for each student to use. You may want to make just enough copies for one class and place them in sheet protectors to preserve them.
The Teacher Version (emailed free to teachers) provides instructions on conducting each activity as well as references to the National Standards covered by the activity.
Activities are also accompanied by online readings that are linked to the activities. These readings come in two forms:
Fundamentals – a brief discussion of the concepts (science or mathematics) dealt with in the activity. The Teachers Version will tell you how many copies you will need to make.
Skills – a brief discussion of techniques and skills needed to conduct the experiment. The Teachers Version will tell you how many copies you will need to make.
Some activities are also provided with resources and forms. Resources are charts and tables that contain additional information for students to use as they complete the activities. The Teachers Version will tell you how many copies you will need to make.
The Event-Based Science Institute, with a generous grant from the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation, created the activities contained herein. They are intended for the use of science and mathematics teachers in both public and private schools. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the Event-Based Science Institute, Inc. and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation.
This publication was supported by grant number 2003-DR-FX-0024 from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP).The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of OJJDP or the U.S. Department of Justice.