Healthcare Tips

Sneak In STEM Lessons While Watching Sports

November 5, 2020

We’re all more than a little tired of virtual everything-we-used-to-do-in-person. But even avid sports fans don’t attend every game, and most of us enjoy watching sports on TV. So get creative and add in some STEM with kids while you pass the chip bowl and root for the home team. The best kind of learning applies instantly!


Basic math is simple, especially for younger kids. Questions about their favorite players or team pique their interest and desire to play along.


Simple questions like, “Is that an obtuse or acute angle?” get them thinking, not just about answers but also about cause and effect. This video about angles touches on hockey, skiing, and ice skating in a quick three-and-a-half minutes. This science of soccer balls video discusses how the shapes and the number of sections on a soccer ball have evolved over the years.


Physics concepts are not lofty. You already know them experientially. Forces like gravity are far more intuitive for most of us than, say, quadratic equations. Explore ideas like centripetal force in the Indy 500, buoyancy in kayaking, and inertia and momentum in football (and whether an underinflated ball travels faster or slower).


Look at the protective gear players wear. Why do footballers wear shoulder pads? How come the volleyball team wears ankle braces and knee pads? Why is a knee so prone to injury? Standout players can prompt questions about their training. Which muscles, exactly, contribute to the vertical jump? What are the real benefits of altitude training, and which athletes might want to use it?


Speaking of standout players and quadratic equations, here’s a great example of using algebra in real life to explain Michael Jordan’s incredible hang time with bonus astrophysics.

If you’re looking for new ways to keep your kids engaged in learning, try a few of the tips above. Who knows—you might end up with a young mathlete on your hands! And for more parenting tips and tricks, check out the Family section here at