Sunday, April 18, 2021

Flyers players relate science, math to hockey


Hockey season is once again upon us, and former stars of the Philadelphia Flyers visited one middle school to highlight some of the connections between ice hockey and math, science, and other school subjects, the Courier-Times reports.

Former stars included Bob “The Hound” Kelly and other Flyers representatives. At Neil A Armstrong Middle School in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, they talked with about 240 eighth-graders about the importance of education, physical activity, and how much science, math, engineering and technology matter in hockey.

When someone like Mr Kelly brings the message, kids’ ears perk up. He was a member of both Stanley Cup winners in 1974 and 1975, so at least their parents know who he is.

And his and his fellow Flyers’ commitment to young people at this school and at about 80 to 100 schools in Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey this program visits every year, bringing with them the overarching message that school is important, is just what the doctor ordered.

An hour-long video quiz about hockey featured questions about math and science like these:

  • Math: If the diameter of each faceoff circle is 9 meters, what is the radius?
  • Science: When an official drops the puck to start a hockey game, what type of energy increases?

Although this may not constitute even a quiz at the eighth-grade level, what this little trivia game does is to use securely-held knowledge (How does radius relate to diameter? What is kinetic energy?) and apply it to an interesting event or phenomenon in kids’ everyday life (a Flyers hockey game). The lesson that math and science are part of everyday life was driven home, regardless of whether kids were big hockey fans, by this fun out-of-classroom assembly.

The team also emphasized the importance of physical activity by having a few students take part in a jump rope contest and other activities. “Physical activity around the country is not near where it should be,” the paper quoted one Flyer as saying. “Studies show that the average youth has about 16 to 20 minutes a day, and that is not near enough.”

In life, Mr Kelly told the kids, “You will be able to do anything you want to do, but it starts right here every day, getting that good education.” That message, delivered by a star hockey player, is now part of their memories.

Paul Katula
Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

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