June 20, 2010
June 20, 2010
June 23, 2010
15.107.1 - 15.107.18
A Triple Play: Mathematics, Baseball, and Storytelling
There are many effective teaching pedagogies. One way we have found to produce results is to combine the use of storytelling about baseball in mathematics classes. This paper will illustrate a positive relationship between the three different subjects of baseball, storytelling and mathematics and explain why teachers may want to explore this triple play combination as part of their pedagogy.
First, there is more to teaching mathematics than solutions to math problems. Mathematics instruction involves thinking skills such as grouping, ordering, pairing, memory, and number related problems, all cognitive capabilities that create the framework for a student’s understanding of math. Mathematics also involves ideas such as rotation, magnitude, curves, space, change, spirals, probabilities, equations, roots and other concepts.
Second, many of these same math concepts are also found in the game of baseball which not only lends itself to math problems, but can be developed into stories that become metaphors to assist in the cognitive understanding of mathematical concepts and thinking skills.
Finally, a growing body of research also supports the pedagogy of storytelling in a host of settings including the academic environment. Businesses, hospitals, governmental bodies and schools are discovering the power of stories to shape listeners’ understanding and awareness.
This study examines research on mathematical learning and storytelling and uses the action research of baseball umpiring to illustrate how baseball and storytelling can be used effectively in a math classroom. Both have singular benefits. Combined they have even stronger benefits as assessed by student retention numbers, student evaluation, and student feedback. When baseball stories are used, students’ cognitive capabilities for the understanding of mathematics will increase.
Mathematics, Baseball, and Storytelling
the home team math’matically eliminated… autumn equinox1
Baseball is a game that can “make fans catch their breath and pause while the pitcher looks for a sign, the moment a rookie gets picked off first, or the instant the batter lashes a homer into the night sky, just before the crowd explodes onto its feet.”2 Baseball, much like the popular Japanese form of poetry, Haiku, utilizes metaphors and mathematical form to tell its story.
Given recent math trends and headlines stating Sluggish Results Seen in Math Scores (New York Times, October 14, 2009), and Math-Abused Students: Are We Prepared to Teach Them? (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, May 1999) we suggest mathematics teachers look
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