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Henrico, Va. Oct. 1, 2018 – Excited yells at VCU’s Siegel Center are usually reserved for Rams games. On Oct. 4 and 5, the cheers will be from Henrico County students learning concepts that could give them a competitive edge in school and their careers. The “STEAM in Sports” event at VCU will use sports as a way to teach sixth-grade students about STEAM concepts – science, technology, engineering, the arts and math.
 
More than 700 students from Short Pump and John Rolfe middle schools will populate the arena over the two days in an event sponsored by VCU’s athletics department, the VCU School of Education and other local partners. 
 
On the basketball floor, they’ll use sports equipment with built-in smart technology. Basketballs, soccer balls, softballs, golf and tennis equipment and vertical jump stations communicate with iPads that allow students to chart their performance. The MathScience Innovation Center will give students a different look at sports with its NASCAR station, and students will learn engineering concepts by building a virtual stadium. At VCU’s basketball training facility across the street, students will see firsthand the science of athletic performance, including nutrition, hydrotherapy, weights, physical therapy, video editing, computer coding and more.
 
Students will hear about how the concepts relate to a variety of academic disciplines and are applicable to a variety of careers. 
 
When students return to their schools, they’ll continue learning. Both middle schools have the same equipment used at the event, and the schools’ P.E. teachers attended training sessions over the summer. The teachers learned how to use the smart sports gear in their own classes, and ways to work with teachers across the school to incorporate the technology in a variety of subjects.
 
“We’re excited for the students,” said Rachael Toy, Henrico Schools’ STEAM specialist. “We wanted to make sure that this was not just a one-and-done event. They’ll take these concepts back to their classrooms. There are a lot of cross-disciplinary opportunities for both students and teachers.”
 
STEAM in Sports
 
Who: 
Members of the media are invited to attend
 
When:
  • Oct. 4, 9:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. (Short Pump Middle School sixth-graders)
  • Oct. 5, 9:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. (John Rolfe Middle School sixth-graders)
Where: 
Stuart Siegel Center at VCU (1200 W. Broad St., Richmond, Va.)