You can find a lesson in everything. Today, we found all sorts of lessons at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
The Durham Bulls are a AAA-affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays, and a few times each season, they hold a special Education Day.
Now, financially speaking, this is a great deal. All teachers get in free - so for a home school group like ours, that meant that fully half of our group didn't pay for a ticket. You have the option of buying a boxed lunch for only $3.50, and there's also a baseball-related curriculum that's available for download. Several kid-friendly booths were set up in the concourse area, with things like Smokey the Bear, Bobber the Water Dog, and the Durham Museum of Life and Science. The museum staff brought along snakes and other animals for the students to touch and check out.
Educationally speaking, the curriculum is great. It's written for students in grades 2 through 8, and it's written specifically using the North Carolina Standard Course of Study. The plans are detailed and very applicable to real life, and although none of the kids who went with us today are ready to use those plans, it is very possible to alter them to our students' levels.
Practically speaking, a day at the ball park is just plain FUN! If you have one in your area and you haven't been, you should definitely check it out.
We go a few times each year, and my Little Man was quite excited to be back.
Of course, if your children don't know the basic positions and rules of baseball, you could always talk about that. No matter what your focus, you must watch the game - you never when a pop fly will come heading your way!
Sometimes, even the players have to pow-wow!
Keeping score, track of batting averages, hits, runs, strikes, outs, and balls is all math. Complicate it a bit by tracking and graphing it before and/or after the game to get an idea of how your team is doing over a given period of time. Or, you could learn about other jobs related to baseball. For example, at the DBAP, the numbers on the scoreboard are changed manually.
One of the great things about this type of event is that it's a real bonding experience. For our family, it's something that we enjoy doing together several times each season. There's just something about the roar of the crowds and cheering for your favorite players together that you can't recreate in front of a TV!
With the cheering goes the eating. We personally prefer the refillable monster tubs of popcorn - we can munch through the whole game, and if our little hands spill a little, we can always request more! (And at ballpark prices, you can teach some great economics lessons right there.)
I somehow doubt that all of these people turned out just for the game, though. Watching the actual players was not exactly my favorite thing when we first started going, either. I preferred ...
the giant sumo matches held between the innings.
My Little Man's personal favorite is watching the team mascot, Wool E. Bull, race around the field in his little blue sports car.
Celebrating home runs and winning scores with the Bull is always fun!
If none of these float your boat, I suppose you could always get a haircut!
The Durham Bulls do an exceptional job of making a trip to their field fun for the whole family, and it really is educational, too.
Have you spent a day at the ballpark learning??