On Sundays, and the occasional Monday, and the occasional Thursday, the San Francisco 49ers take the field at Levi’s Stadium to play football. On weekdays, children from all over the Bay Area visit Levi’s to learn the ins and outs of football on the field and off through the 49ers’ STEAM Education Program. And they do so in classrooms just on the other side of the field. It’s pretty cool.
STEAM focuses on science, technology, engineering, art, and math. The kids do everything from creating the facemask of a helmet out of straws to putting together the perfect healthy diet for athletes depending on his or her sport to doing football drills on the field.
By the end of this school year, STEAM will have graduated over 150,000 students free of charge, with over 50% of those kids coming from Title I designated schools. Even bus transportation is included. The program began in 2014.
“We believe that exposing young students from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds to new experiences and environments – like a professional football team – can help change their trajectories and interest levels in STEAM concepts by making them more approachable and relatable,” said Jesse Lovejoy, Director of STEAM Education & 49ers Museum. “If a student goes home after a field trip to our education program and considers the possibility of a STEAM-based career or continues his or her exploration of concepts rooted in STEAM, we’ve done our job.”
This past March, Lovejoy was in Austin, Texas for SXSWedu. Not only did he speak, but the 49ers were also nominated for the first-ever SXSWedu Learn by Design Award. They were nominated in the experiential category. They lost to Baltimore County but it was still amazing for this program to be nominated.
Per the 49ers, Learn by Design is a new program focused on the design of physical learning spaces and how they have the potential to impact learning outcomes. The program is centered around a design competition showcasing projects in three distinct categories that all address the creation and implementation of physical learning spaces. In the context of SXSWedu, Learn by Design encourages designers and educators to work together to discover design-based solutions to challenges within education.
All of the STEAM content is available free online via the Khan Academy and can be found here
To learn more about the Denise DeBartolo York Education Center, take a look at the video below provided by the 49ers that premiered at SXSW.
* All photos provided by LevisStadium.com