What is Sportsometry?

Sportsometry® is an instructional program based on the idea that athletics can improve a student’s ability to understand certain math concepts.


For example, regardless of whether students learn to throw a bounce pass at the age of four or fourteen, they are certainly not contemplating the connection between the 45° angle of the ball and their teammate, even if their minds are —they just want to get the ball to their teammate and into the basket!

Professor Howard Gardner refers to Sportsometry® in his speech at the 2007 World Conference on Science and Technology Education, as well as his book entitled Multiple Intelligences New Horizons. Gardner reviews the principal ideas in the theory of multiple intelligences, the major changes that have occurred over the past 25 years, and his expectations about future research and applications. Gardner states,

“My guess is that the best educational interventions will continue to come from ingenious educators, using simple materials and their wits… Educator Annick Winokur has coined the term Sportsometry, to describe how she teaches mathematical and spatial reasoning through studying the bounces of a basketball.”

Gardner is the Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education. To read an excerpt from the book, click here.

“Can studying the laws of physics help you be a better basketball player? It might help you find the best angle for your jump shot. U.S. Naval Academy professor John Fontanella, author of The Physics of Basketball, offers his insights.”

- Copyright © 2007 National Public Radio

To hear the full NPR story on the Physics of Basketball, click here.

The Sportsometry® Design and How It Works:

Sportsometry® provides educational services under license to client schools and other agencies to work with their students in an after school program. Our services include educational classes and programs that teach mathematics, physics and related cognitive skills using sports. The students participate in an after school, three phase program. Each phase includes 5 sessions designed by our Educational Consultant to draw connections between various sports and age-appropriate math topics such as spatial relationships, probability, angles and statistics.

What Makes Sportsometry® Unique?

Although research has been done to illustrate the relationship between sports and mathematics in the classroom, while in the program students actually participate in a sport as part of the lesson plan for that session.

In addition, educational research shows that learning anything in more than one way will allow the student to develop a stronger grasp of the material. For example, players inherently use specific skills, and math concepts, on the court when playing one on one basketball. However, if the number of players shifts to two teams of five players, they will be using the same skills but in a different way, without even realizing it.

Not only is playing a sport part of every session, but as the year progresses the connections between the sports and the topics become more complex, and each phase builds on the last. Just as with varying circumstances in a basketball game, if a golfer hits a straight drive down the center of the fairway, the angle of that exact same shot can be easily altered if hit with an eight iron (as a student sees in phase 2) or even more so if hit into the wind with the same club (as a student sees in phase 3). So the topics themselves may not change entirely, but they will certainly become more challenging!

Why the Program Makes an Impact:

Unfortunately physical education is no longer a standard part of many schools’ curricula. Sportsometry® not only illustrates the relationship between mathematics and sports, but also puts physical education back into a student’s daily routine. As we also know, athletics programs help to maintain student fitness and health, as well as strengthen relationships and conflict resolution skills among students.