Cooperstown Classroom

Museum engages educators, students with lessons through lens of baseball

November 19, 2012

COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. – Tia Esposito wanted her students at Boston College High School to connect with their city’s rich immigrant heritage.

So Tia and the school’s Corcoran Library connected with the Education Department at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

“We’ve used a lot of videoconference programs with our students,” said Esposito, the Corcoran library director, “and yours is our favorite program. Through the Diversity in the Dugout program, our eighth graders learn so much about the history of America through baseball. It’s fantastic!”

Diversity in the Dugout is just one of 16 videoconference lessons offered by Hall of Fame educators and delivered through technology from Cooperstown to classrooms all around the country. More than 20,000 students annually experience the magic of the National Pastime through Museum videoconferences, and another 5,000 students visit the Museum each year for on-site field trips.

“Our day-long field trip to Cooperstown was a perfect fit with the 7th-grade curriculum,” said Randy Roeser, a math teacher at Iroquois Middle School in Niskayuna, N.Y – located about 75 minutes from Cooperstown. “At the Baseball Hall of Fame, the math lesson on percents, decimals, and fractions in baseball gave our students a fun opportunity to reinforce and apply prerequisite skills for the 7th grade Core Curriculum standards on percent, which I was just starting to teach in class.

“I used the pre-lessons provided by the Hall of Fame; the students found those lessons highly engaging, and as a result, they were able to get the most out of the lesson (at the Museum).”

The Museum is committed to expanding its education offerings, and the Hall of Fame’s Annual Fund drive this fall is focused on powering this hallmark of the Museum’s mission.

“Together, we have the opportunity to positively affect young people across the continent with engaging education experiences,” said Jeff Idelson, President of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. “With the support of our Members and Donors, we will impact thousands of students as they connect with the Museum in a meaningful way.”

For educators like Tia Esposito, the connection to Cooperstown has become one of the highlights of her annual curriculum.

“This program worked so well that I wrote a grant proposal so we could give similar local lessons to our students,” said Tia, whose 1,700-student school in Boston is the largest private high school in Massachusetts. “This school was built in 1863 for Irish immigrants, and the Diversity in the Dugout videoconference shows how the immigrants would get together in the streets after work to play baseball.

“We absolutely love it. We’ve been doing 8-10 videoconferences a year for the past five years or so. We use the Hall of Fame’s videoconference as a starting point for our whole immigration curriculum.”

Meanwhile, teachers in the Cooperstown area continue to bring students to the Museum year-after-year to demonstrate the link between American culture and baseball.

“We bring 90 to 100 kids a year, and they like the fact that they see all the artifacts and experience lessons with them,” said Karie Sanzo, a seventh-grade teacher from nearby Mount Markham Middle School in West Winfield, N.Y. “It’s nice that we can incorporate the Museum experience with things that we’re touching on in class.”

For more information on how to contribute to the Hall of Fame’s education programs, please click here www.baseballhall.org/educationsupport.

Craig Muder is the director of communications for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum

Hall of Fame Education Modules

The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum offers 16 education modules that students can experience via videoconference or onsite field trips in Cooperstown:

Math

  • Geometry: Circling the Bases
  • Statistics: Batter up!
  • Economics: The Business of Baseball Hall of Fame

Science

  • Physical Science: Science on the Sandlot
  • Innovation: Tools of the Trade
  • Health Science: Be A Superior Example

Social Studies

  • Geography: Coast to Coast
  • Women’s History: Dirt on Their Skirts
  • Labor History: Hardballs and Handshakes|
  • Civil Rights History: Before You Could Say “Jackie Robinson”
  • Popular Culture: Take Me Out To The Ballgame!
  • Cultural Diversity: Diversity in the Dugout

The Arts

  • Communication Arts: Going, Going, Gone!
  • Visual Arts: Painting the Corners

Character Education

  • Character Education
  • Leadership: Leading Off