While children are swarming back to schools, the 49ers Museum launched its STEM-based education and life skills enrichment program: the Denise DeBartolo York Education Center on Aug. 22 at Levi’s Stadium.
Utilizing football and the new $1.3 billion stadium as educational platforms, the program is slated to host more than 20,000 K-8 students in its initial year. The program is at no cost to the students and schools, with transportation provided.
“It’s been a lot of work building Levi’s Stadium … but this is one of the flagship components … 20,000 students signed up for our education program, which is completely free to students and schools,” said 49ers CEO Jed York. “We are excited at giving students an opportunity to learn … We feel you will find the program really fun and exciting.
“I hope you know how to fix the grass,” added York with a wide grin and laugh.
Sixty-five eighth-grade students from the 49ers Academy in East Palo Alto were the inaugural students to experience the Chevron STEM Zone.
In a hands-on, interactive learning experience, students worked in teams to build a football out of non-traditional materials, ranging from cotton, pillows and tape, to small beanbags and packaging materials. The students worked on large, touch-screen tabletops, complete with “coaching” from the 49ers players serving as team captains. In addition to the learning activity, students received a stadium tour and explored the 49ers Museum.
The education program is just one component of the 49ers’ and Chevron’s $4 million investment in STEM education.
“Over a year ago we envisioned this,” said Jesse Lovejoy, 49ers Museum Director. “This week we launch it. I could not be more excited.”
Mike Wirth, Chevron Executive Vice President, Downstream and Chemicals, said Chevron “has a commitment to bring interactive curriculum to students to help enhance science and engineering … here, we connect fun with the STEM principles behind football. You might not even know you’re learning them.”
“If you connect stem to football, you can connect STEM to anything,” said Matt Van Dixon, 49ers Museum education manager. Van Dixon utilized a vintage football helmet to pose a question to students about how football helmets have evolved through engineering and science.
According to the 49ers, they are the first professional sports organization to embrace and promote the STEM learning concepts for youth. The program “engages students in a variety of technologically-rich learning experiences that are student-centered and can be adapted to various development levels and learning audiences … and integrates STEM learning through project-based activities that transfer student knowledge and skills to real-world problems.”
Visit http://www.levisstadium.com/49ers-museum/education/ for more information on the program.