By John Philip Wyllie
Hoover High freshman Jose Guevara has been playing baseball for as long as he can remember. He recently completed his first season of high school competition as part of the Cardinals J.V. team and like his Boston Red Sox heroes Pedro Martinez and Manny Ramirez, he hopes to someday make baseball his career. While things have come easy to him on the baseball diamond, it has been more of a struggle in the classroom. Up until this year, math has been particularly troublesome.
“There wasn’t anything to motivate kids in most of my (previous) math classes,” Guevara explained. This year his teacher introduced an innovative new math program called Fantasy Baseball to Guevara and his classmates. For the first time, it has him actually looking forward to math class. It is a reaction shared by thousands of other students from coast to coast.
Developed by local educator Tim Scheidt, Fantasy Baseball motivates students by pairing mathematics with baseball in an interactive game. A dramatic departure from the all too familiar out of the book lecture format, Fantasy Baseball makes math come alive while it fosters a deeper understanding of America’s national pastime.
Guevara was one of the 224 students recently selected to participate in the Seventh Annual Fantasy Baseball Tournament at Balboa Park’s Hall of Champions. Over the course of the June 4-5 event, students ranging in age from 11 to 18 and representing 37 local schools competed for Padres tickets, medals and UpperDeck baseball cards. They also listened to an impressive list of informative guest speakers headed by former Padres pitcher and current team announcer, Mark Grant.
The atmosphere inside the hall was electric with the shrieks of students matching wits as the battled each other in this simulated baseball game requiring both strategy and luck. The same enthusiastic sounds were heard regularly during the last few weeks in teaching intern Michael Jurado’s Southwest Middle School classroom.
“By the end of the year, the kids are burned out, especially after taking all the (state mandated) tests and preparing for final exams. Fantasy Baseball has energized my room and re-energized my kids. It makes them want to come to class. I only wish I had started it earlier,” Jurado added. In addition to its motivational aspects, Jurado believes that Fantasy Baseball provides an ideal opportunity to prepare students for their final exams.
“It deals with everything we covered all year such as fractions, decimals, percentages, so it is a good review.” In an educational environment where test scores have become increasingly more important, Fantasy Baseball might be just the ticket.
For further information contact Outreach Coordinator Tim Scheidt at (619) 670-1521.