To measure how far you can hit
a baseball and record the measurement in both customary
units and metric units.
Leading off in the fourth
inning for San Francisco, Barry Bonds waited for the
fourth pitch. It was low and outside, but Bonds reached
across the plate and made solid contact with the 1-and-2
Witnesses say that Bond's 23rd
home run of the 2003 season never rose higher than 20
feet off the ground. But that was enough. The ball
cleared the fence and hit the back wall of the bullpen
381 feet from home plate. For Bonds it was career homer
637 and it gave the San Francisco Giants a 2-0 lead over
the St. Louis Cardinals.
Home runs are exciting. They
are one of the most thrilling spectacles in baseball.
New ballparks may be built but thank goodness they are
never big enough to hold in the long-ball hitters.
Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, and
Mark McGwire can be counted on to crush the ball into
the stands---sometimes out of the ballpark.
You are the sportscaster for
WXYZ- TV in Detroit. The producer of the evening news
has a great idea for a baseball spot. She wants you to
prepare a special segment for tonight's show. She wants
you to demonstrate just how far a 381-foot home run
actually travels. And since your station has viewers in
Windsor, Ontario, all measurements you make have to be
shown in both US and metric units.
You have only 6 hours to come
up with the story. You must act fast. You decide to
start by seeing just how far someone like you can hit a
baseball. Then you will show some of the distances that
we commonly walk in our neighborhood that are just about
as far or almost as far as your hits and major-league
home runs. No matter what, the producer wants a story
that your viewers can relate to.
First, decide how many people
it will take to produce this segment and what role each
person will play. One of you will need to hit a baseball
as far as possible and others will measure the distance
in customary units. There may be other roles too.
Second, carry out the
procedures that you have decided to use and record all
measurements. Be sure to convert the distances into
metric units for your Canadian viewers.
Third, find a distance around
your neighborhood or school that is equal to the
distance that you can hit the baseball. Do the same
thing for the Barry Bonds homer described in the Background.
Finally, examine the home run
hitters on the list provided and fill in all missing
As a sportscaster, it is your
job to write the script for your part of the show and to
decide which shots need to be videotaped.
A Script-and-Shot Form has been started for you. Complete the form by making sure that you say and show everything that your producer wants. Make sure that everything fits in a two-minute spot.
This activity was developed by the Event-Based Science Institute with generous support from the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation. A teacher version of this and all other baseball/math activities is available free from the Institute. This Home Run Distance activity was written by Marco Fuggitti, mathematics teacher at Ridgeview Middle School, Rockville, MD..
Copyright © 2004-12 Event-Based Science Institute