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Grade: Middle
Subject: other

#1211. Who's the Greatest?

other, level: Middle
Posted Wed Jul 28 06:47:40 PDT 1999 by Joe O'Brien (
ESPN's Baseball Stats
Pennbrook Middle School, North Wales, PA
Materials Required: newspapers--either hard copy or on-line; computers
Activity Time: approx. 1 week
Concepts Taught: persuassive writing, reading and understanding graphs and statistics

Integrated Lesson Plan: Baseball Stats and Opinion

Grade Level/Rationale:
This is an interdisciplinary lesson intended for middle school students. Ideally the lesson would be team-taught by the English and math teachers, along with assistance from the technology department.

This activity will use students' interest in sports to introduce them to tables, spreadsheets, and Internet research. As a wrap-up and segue into grammar, parts of speech will be defined and then identified in the research report.

The resources I have developed relate to baseball. Next year, other sports--particularly soccer--will be added to appeal to more students.

Warm Up
1. Show pictures (on projection monitor) of baseball stars.
2. Ask who the best of these athletes is.
3. Show the sports page of a newspaper (either a class set of papers, or from the Internet).
4. Tell students, "We will use statistics to try to determine who the best baseball (or soccer, basketball, etc.) player is."

Computer/Web Work
All three teachers--English, Math, Technology--will instruct the students in the following activities:

1. Make a table with five top players of your choice. List name, team, position, and key offensive statistics.
2. Create a spreadsheet with the information from the table. Include averages of key stats, and at least 2 graphs.
3. Go to web site Research one of the players you included in your database. Complete research worksheet (see attached).
4. Using word processor, write a brief (1 page) report on the player. In the last paragraph, argue why you think he or she is the best player.

Wrap Up
1. Share your report with a partner.
2. (OPTIOINAL) As a class, debate who is the "best." (This activity involves higher level thinking skills and would require significant class time. Persuasive writing and speaking skills would need to be taught.)
3. With your partner, do parts of speech crossword. (See attached.)
(Depending on level of student, an involved review of parts of speech may be necessary here.)
4. In your report, identify 2 nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, conjunctions, prepositional phrases.

Baseball Research Worksheet

Name __________________________

Athlete's name ______________________________________

Team, sport ________________________________________

Years played _________________


Birth date _____________ Birth place________________________________

An interesting childhood fact:


Education (List the last schooling the athlete received. If he did not go to college, list his high school--and try to find out if he graduated. If he did go to college, did he graduate? What did he study?)

Real Life
Write a few sentencs about one interesting fact that does NOT have to do with sports. What are his/her interests, achievements, hobbies? Does he have a family? Discuss ANY interesting non-sports fact you found. Do NOT just list how much money he makes.

MAKE YOUR CASE: Using the statistics you gathered, compare your athelete to other top players. Do you feel he is the best player in baseball? Use evidence to support your opinion.