AGPA Talks STEM in Sports at NEXT Conference


Pictured Left to Right: Amanda Pinheiro, John Fellenstein, Victor Pinheiro, and Missy Dreisbach

Moving forward and creating were two major themes at the 2018 New Explorations in Teaching Conference at The University of Akron. This was the third annual NEXT conference hosted by UA, and the first attended by the Akron Global Polymer Academy.

The AGPA’s Content Specialist, John Fellenstein, was joined by Assistant Lecturer of Sport Science & Wellness Education Missy Dreisbach, Director of Sport Science & Wellness Education Victor Pinheiro, and graduate student in the Department of Biomedical Engineering Amanda Pinheiro to give a presentation titled “STEM Education Through Sports.”

“There are so many polymer materials involved in sports equipment, from your shoes to any type of compression gear that athletes wear to the sports balls,” said Fellenstein. “Protective gear, helmets, they’re all made out of polymers.” That strong polymer presence made the AGPA and the Department of Sport Science and Wellness Education a perfect fit.

The two first came together when Fellenstein, Dreisbach, Victor Pinheiro and his daughter Amanda Pinheiro worked together on a summer project that integrated STEM and sports, which they discussed in their presentation at the conference. At one STEM sports camp, kids talked about proper technique and were recorded doing chest-passes and free-throws. Using the Hudl Technique App, the students could access the videos, analyze their performance, and critique their form using a criteria sheet. Another activity was the egg walk, during which kids learned about the concepts of force and pressure by attempting to build footwear that would not crush a carton of eggs when stepped on.

The audience, which consisted of over a dozen educators seeking new and innovative ways to engage students in the classroom, learned about polymers, biomechanics, and how integral physics is to any sport, using basketball as the primary example. The AGPA and the Department of Sport Science & Wellness Education were a great team, and we look forward to seeing what they come up with next.