Profile Friday 2: The San Francisco 49ers?

Did you know that the San Francisco 49ers are one of the leaders in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) education in the Bay Area?  In fact did you know the 49ers are the first and only professional sports team to provide onsite STEAM training programs for kids of all ages?  No?  That’s ok, me either, and I thought I knew everything about the 49ers.  Let me tell you how I learned about the amazing work the 49ers are doing.

So there I was at SXSWedu in Austin Tx.  I was walking around the STEAM exhibit hall looking at all the amazing tools and programs to teach Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math, when all of the sudden I see a man take the stage with a 49ers hat and jersey on.  For those of you that don’t know me, I have been a lifelong San Francisco 49ers fan ever since 4 year old me decided he wanted his own favorite team and saw Jerry “The Greatest Football Player of All Time” Rice play causing me to fall in love with the red and gold forever.

 sports nfl celebs jerry rice GIF

Life hasn’t been as sweet for us 49er faithful the last few years, in fact last season in particular can be summed up like this:

NFL funny lol football nfl GIF

So imagine my surprise, excitement, and cautiousness when I saw the man in the hat and jersey take the stage at SXSWedu.  That man was Jesse Lovejoy, the director of the 49ers museum, and he gave a short talk on the 49ers Museum and the amazing work in science education they were doing through their STEAM field trip and summer camp programs.  After speaking with Mr. Lovejoy I realized this wasn’t a typical field trip program, this was a fully designed, NGSS (Next Generation Science Standards) aligned, Common Core aligned curriculum that was seeking to use football as a tool to educate the next generation of great thinkers, and the best part about it?  The 49ers were offering this program absolutely free to any school/student within 75 miles of Levi’s Stadium.

 free dave chappelle GIF

Started in 2014 when Levi’s stadium opened, the 49ers Museum Education Program buses students from anywhere within a 75 mile radius of the stadium for a full day of project based learning activities in the cutting edge Denise DeBartolo learning center free of charge.  When I say cutting edge, I mean this classroom looks like it’s a room on the TARDIS.  Don’t get the reference?  Umm ok, this classroom looks like it’s a room on the Enterprise.  Still too nerdy?  Umm this room looks like it’s a really futuristic room from… the… future… GET SOME CULTURE!!!!

Photo Credit: 49ers Museum

The more research I did on this program the more I wished I was a student in San Francisco.  The team’s faculty uses football to frame all their projects, from looking at helmet design and engineering to football trajectory and aerodynamics.

Are you like me and don’t live anywhere near the stadium but still want to take advantage of the great things the team is doing?  They also partnered with Khan Academy to produce a video series on some of the science behind football (link at the end of the post).  Even some of the players contributed to these videos like this one starring my favorite player on the team Joe Staley:

Joe Staley
Photo Credit: Khan Academy

The work the 49ers are doing is truly amazing.  I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the team in the shadow of Silicon Valley would be on the cutting edge of STEAM education.  What’s even more amazing is the sheer number of students these programs are serving.  At the end of this school year the museum will have educated over 150,000 students, again, free of charge from the Bay Area.

I am fully aware that this whole profile was written by me geeking out but hopefully you can see how wonderful this program is.  Want more information?  Check out the 49ers site here:  Here is the Khan Academy playlist:  Are you in the Bay Area and want to schedule a field trip?  Check out the 49ers Education Guide:

Thanks for reading!  See you next Profile Friday!!

❤ Keough


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