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Baseball - The Tenth Inning

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Lesson Plans

Stadium Consultants

Grade Level: Grades 6–8

Overview: In this lesson, the class becomes a business partnership of stadium consultants. Each student consultant has been called in to analyze the attendance and ticket prices of one major league baseball stadium. Consultants will make recommendations regarding changes in ticket prices, spending on player salaries, stadium development projects and other creative options to present to the owners.

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Shadow Ball

Grade Level: 6–8

Overview: Shadow ball is pantomiming the game of baseball, going through well-timed and believable motions that give the illusion of actually playing the game. In the first half of the 20th century, players in the Negro League would warm up by playing shadow ball, to the delight of crowds.

In this lesson, students first collect data on their physical movements when playing the game of baseball–running times between bases and the time it takes to hit and throw the ball various distances. Students then integrate the data into a game of shadow ball–analyzing baseball's essential elements by calculating the varying forces of movement to understand motion, velocity and force.

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Baseball Museum Exhibits

Grade Level: 6–12 (although lesson may be suitable for upper elementary grades with some teacher adaptations)

Overview: Throughout its history, baseball has replenished its talent by drawing on new ethnic groups of Americans, their arrival in the major leagues often signaling their assimilation into the mainstream. In the 1980s, for the first time, baseball began to draw heavily on pools of talent from outside the United States, by the 1990s the trickle of Hispanic stars coming to America had become a flood. By the end of the first decade of the twenty-first century, Latins constituted a majority of the roster on several major-league teams, and forty-six percent of all minor-league players.

In this lesson, students will work collaboratively in committees to create museum exhibits featuring foreign born baseball players who have come to America, chronicling their lives, achievements and contributions to baseball and their communities.

Download "Baseball Museum Exhibits" Lesson Plan

Mapping Baseball

Grade Level: 6–12 (although the lesson may also be suitable for lower grade levels with some adaptations)

Overview: In this lesson, students chart the movement and development of major league baseball teams as the U.S. population and markets shifted in the post-World War II era. Students use Google Earth to document this movement.

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Crossing the Line: Jackie Robinson

Grade Level: 7–12

Overview: Of all the lessons baseball can teach us, none is more important than the one taught by Jackie Robinson, the ballplayer who broke the "gentleman's agreement" that no black player would be allowed to play in major league baseball. Promoted by a daring league executive and former player, Branch Rickey, Robinson broke the game's color barrier by entering the majors in 1947. He definitely had the skills and determination to make it, but the question was, could he endure the abuse and racial attacks that would come his way?

In this activity, students explore Jackie Robinson's character and his impact on baseball and American civil rights. They construct character sketches of Robinson and various people who played a significant role during his entry and first years in major league baseball, then build historical role-play skits or interviews on key events in Jackie Robinson's first years in the major leagues.

Download "Crossing the Line" Lesson Plan

Bases Divided

Grade Level: 7–12

Overview: For more than 60 years, African Americans were banned from playing in major league baseball. The reasons today might seem unbelievable, but it was a time when discrimination was rampant and accepted. Not willing to be denied, African American baseball players started their own league and developed a style of play that gave the game two of its strongest attributes–entertainment and athleticism. In this lesson, students explore the collusion of the white baseball club owners and their "gentleman's agreement" to exclude African Americans from playing in the major leagues.

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Baseball Memories

Grade Level: 6–12 (although lesson may be suitable for lower grade levels with some adaptations)

Overview: In this lesson, students conduct oral history interviews about important "baseball memories" (either in person or conveyed through radio or television) with family members, teachers, friends or others. They take this information and create blogs reporting the results of their interviews.

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Women in Baseball

Grade Level: 6–12 (although lesson may be suitable for upper elementary grades with some teacher adaptations)

Overview: In this lesson, student groups role-play sports marketing firms looking to package female baseball players with product endorsement deals. To sell their client, groups present multimedia projects highlighting the accomplishments of their client, as well as examples of how they would market the player (such as baseball cards, cereal boxes, etc.).

Download "Women in Baseball" Lesson Plan

Artful Deceptions

Grade Level: 7–12

Overview: Getting an edge is paramount in the highly competitive and lucrative world of professional sports and baseball is no exception. The game has a long, and some would say dubious, history of cheating. Examples include pitchers doctoring the ball, teams stealing signs, hitters corking bats, groundskeepers soaking the baseline with water to discourage base stealing by opposing teams.

In this lesson, students examine the act of cheating on a personal level and analyze its character and consequences. Then they role-play a member of a rules infraction review board examining several of the more notorious rules infractions in baseball history. Students address issues such as whether there are different degrees of cheating, who gains and who loses when cheating occurs, and the nature of cheating in highly competitive sports.

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Baseball Heroes

Grade Level: 7–12

Overview: Why do human beings always seem to need heroes? American history was built on them and we find examples in all aspects of our culture. Some heroes are well known to all of us, while others do their work in obscurity. All genuine heroes achieve life-changing results. Athletes, especially famous athletes, are often revered as heroes. But are they truly heroic? Like most professional sports, baseball has a long list of larger-than-life personalities who have been seen as heroes. Some have overcome tremendous obstacles – poverty, racism, discrimination, or injuries. Some have made a real difference in the lives of others, and have dedicated their lives to being positive examples, always trying to do their best. Others achieved one-time performances that surpassed all human expectations. But when does this make them heroes? Have fame and celebrity become conflated with heroism in contemporary American life?

In this lesson, students will explore what it means to be a hero and examine the lives of several major league baseball players who might be considered heroes. They will then research one of the major characters presented in the BASEBALL series and develop a multimedia presentation chronicling the person's life and actions analyzing whether or not this person deserves being called a hero.

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