OKC Thunder, Dodgers reward STEM education
Two Oklahoma City sports franchises are seeking to impact area classrooms.
The Oklahoma City Thunder and Oklahoma City Dodgers are promoting education in STEM — science, technology, engineering and math — with curricula and rewards.
The Thunder provides blueprints for STEM-related lessons and projects for teachers to use in schools.
The Devon Thunder Explorers program focuses on classes in fourth through sixth grade by offering monthly activities. Classes that participate are entered to win a monthly prize.
Coronado Heights Elementary teacher Dawn Dilley won $500 for her classroom as the November winner. Her fourth-grade class built hand-held slingshots inspired by T-shirt launchers used at Thunder games.
The activity gave instructions to build the slingshots with household items, and it outlined a lesson in trajectory and data collection, in which students analyzed the distance projectiles traveled.
The Dodgers are entering the club’s fourth year offering rewards to third and fourth graders through the MVP Program, which partners with Devon and Olsson. This is the second year the program has been available statewide.
Teachers used the incentive program in 330 Oklahoma classrooms in 2019, connecting with more than 7,200 students. The Dodgers encourage schools to offer rewards for STEM activities, but teachers can incentivize any criteria of their choice, such as other school subjects, good behavior or strong attendance.
Teachers and students who are rewarded in the MVP Program receive tickets to a Dodgers game and a free MVP hat. Select MVP students are chosen for unique Dodgers experiences, such as throwing a ceremonial first pitch or delivering a game lineup card.
The free program culminates in the MVP Field Day at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, where students participate in STEM activities and meet Dodgers players.
“I use the Dodgers MVP Program to promote good citizenship and improve classroom behavior,” said Tracey Brauer, a fourth-grade teacher at West Field Elementary in Edmond. “It has been a great help and kids love it.”
Teachers have until March 31 to register for 2020.