‘You get engagement from everyone’: Mott Haven teacher incorporates baseball in science curriculum

P.S. 277 science teacher Jamie Ewing who mixes baseball with science.
Courtesy of Jamie Ewing

While baseball season has yet to begin and no one knows if or when it will, one local teacher is incorporating the sport into his science class.

Jamie Ewing, 55, teaches science at P.S. 277 in Mott Haven. He has been there for a year and has spend a total of 13 years as an educator.

He grew up in North Carolina and has lived in Seattle and most recently Washington, D.C. In the nation’s capital, he discovered a passion for America’s pastime. While there, the Washington Nationals asked him to develop a curriculum for children using baseball.

He told the Bronx Times that many people don’t realize that science and sports go hand in hand. The angles of where to hit a ball, and how to catch it and shoot it are all math and science related, Ewing explained.

“Science can be really hard for a lot of students,” Ewing said. “The best thing to do is to bring it realms they can understand.”

In the home of the Bronx Bombers, he is showing his kids that science can be fun. He had the kids make ball launchers, which allowed them to learn about the strike zone and home runs.

An interesting tidbit is the fact that the trajectory of a baseball when going out of the park for a homerun uses the same physics concepts as flying.

“I love going to the games and looking at the science and math of the game,” Ewing said. “A lot of our scholars don’t look at sports as being based on math and science.”

Ewing noted it’s quite comical that he uses sports in his teaching. His parents James and Sylvia were four-star athletes, while their four children did not participate in sports.

Surprisingly, his lessons haven’t just appealed to sports fans. All of the kids have enjoyed them, even the ones that know nothing about baseball.

“They think science is nothing but experiments,” he remarked. “You get engagement from everyone, whether the kid likes baseball or not.”

According to Ewing, when kids are young, schools primarily focus on English and math, but he wants them to know that science can be fun.

Next week he plans to begin to implementing hockey into his lessons. He is a Boston Bruins fan and hopes before the end of the school year the students can learn how science and the ice sport intersect.

“They know whatever they’re going to do in our class is going to be fun,” he said.