The 49ers and Khan Academy officially partnered to extend the 49ers STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math) education program beyond Levi’s Stadium walls. The team made the announcement on Sept. 14 at the stadium to 350 of the program’s students.
The 49ers STEAM education program is a free field trip experience for kindergarten through 8th grade students, who are treated to a Levi’s Stadium tour and museum exploration, as well as a movement lab and STEM lesson. The program uses football as a platform to engage students and runs everyday.
Think of Khan Academy as a free, online tutor for students. It can also be used in the classroom by teachers and by parents at home. Khan Academy’s goal is to help students from preschool through the core of college. “Our mission is to provide a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere,” says the organization’s website.
The 49ers’ education program aimed to serve 30,000 students in its first year, acccording to Jesse Lovejoy, Director of the STEAM Education program and 49ers Museum. They were able to double that to 60,000 students this year by building more classrooms.
“Our challenge to ourselves was, how do we take the education program and expand it to people outside of the physical footprint of the Levi’s Stadium walls?” said 49ers President Al Guido. “So we figured, who better to do that than Sal Khan and the Khan Academy.”
Sal Khan, Khan Academy founder and CEO, joined Lovejoy and Guido at Levi’s stadium where the STEAM classes are held to help make the announcement.
As part of the partnership, Khan Academy launched a 49ers STEAM Education page on its website to provide more resources to the STEAM students. On the site, visitors can find lessons on statistics, physics, engineering and even answered questions from 49ers players.
350 students from Learning in an Urban Community with High Achievement (LUCHA), Baldwin and Anne Darling Elementary Schools were there for the field trip program that day and were present for the announcement. They got a first look at Khan’s new resource as they watched an introduction video featuring 49ers players on the big screens.
“What we’re going to show you today is a collaboration between Khan Academy and the 49ers,” said Khan. “We’re really going to be talking about where the worlds of sports and football meet the worlds of science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics. “
Khan said that football reaches a lot of people, and it’s an ideal medium for reaching students since football itself has a lot of math and science embedded in it. Students that engage with Khan Academy often have greater-than-expected achievement gains. However, he continued, the challenge is getting the students to engage.
“Obviously football, the stadium and the 49ers are incredible,” said Khan. “That’s where a lot of their minds already are so if we can draw that connection it’s going to drive some real learning.”
The program will now send teachers information about Khan Academy’s new 49ers section so their students can keep learning about the topics they covered at the stadium. This tool is available to students who went through the program, planning to go through the program, and anyone else who has access to a computer.
“The whole idea [of the program] is football and the stadium as a common denominator to get kids to engage in STEAM,” said Lovejoy. “Now it’s teachers being sent this resource and saying, ‘use this at your leisure and then please share with your children and their parents,'”
The Khan Academy is a not-for-profit organization and relies on donations to serve its students. Joanne Pasternack, Vice President and Executive Director of Community Relations and the 49ers Foundation, said that the 49ers donated $250,000 to Khan Academy to support its mission.
The 49ers were the first NFL team to develop a STEAM education program back in 2014. Now that the 49ers are partnered with Khan Academy, the lessons they teach in their STEAM program are now accessible to many students around the world.
For more information, about 49ers STEM education visit levisstadium.com/education.
For more information about Khan Academy, visit khanacademy.org/partner-content/49ers-steam.