Football is like life – it requires perseverance, self-denial, hard work, sacrifice, dedication and respect for authority. Vince Lombardi
As the world cup fever rages and obsesses a lot of our populace. I sat back yesterday as I watched tons of people gather to watch the match of Argentina vs Nigeria, the question hit me “Do extracurricular activities contribute to students’ success at school?” I went back to do some research about this, as a scientist- I like to find out the answers to questions that strike me. The research was optimistic- extracurricular activities are positive influences on students who partake of it. It leads to higher self-esteem and an elevated social status among their peers.
Yet when schools have financial issues extracurricular activities — particularly art, music, and drama but sometimes sports as well –they quickly cut these out. We need parents and students to protest against this; they should educate the public on the importance of these activities and their value in increasing student academic performance.”
Tying students interests to education is a win win.
In my research I found a school in California, USA that mixed soccer and STEM. It helped curbed troublesome behavior among the children and still learn key STEM topics while they had fun and were physically active. These structured activities enable students to be interested and engaged in learning. You connect concepts from STEM subjects and the students really enjoy it the administrators have found out. Suspensions have been reduced by 79 percent in the school system in the California district where the program is implemented.
The real bonus is that the coaches in the program are soccer players who are enrolled in colleges. They are young, cool and the students admire them enormously because they can identify with them as people they aspire to be.
In the STEM and Soccer stints, students learn the shape of DNA molecules by dribbling in a double helix pattern, they also track and graph their heart rates after fluctuating levels of activity. Another activity is dribbling the ball around a solar system of orange traffic cones, acquiring knowledge about the relationships between the planets as they navigate around the sun.
The Coaches use activity worksheets to explore topics such as force and gravity, engineering design, weather and climate and mathematics.
They use being able to play soccer as an incentive for the activities for the children.
Imagine our children being involved in engaging activities such as these?!
Learning while doing is always fun!
Adetola Salau; Educator / Speaker / Author/ Social Entrepreneur / Innovator
She is an Advocate of STEM Education and is Passionate about Education reform. She is an innovative thinker and strives for our society & continent as a whole to reclaim it’s greatness. She runs an educational foundation with the mission to transform education.