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Friday, August 03, 2007

MIT's learning curve

Youths in program put math in motion on baseball field.
By Javier C. Hernandez

Inside an MIT engineering classroom, pitchers in Red Sox shirts and sports jerseys fix their eyes on the strike zone, a white square on the blackboard. With all the eighth-grade muscle they can muster, they take turns hurling a styrofoam ball at the target.
Moments later, in a postgame analysis from their desks, the 24 boys and their camp instructors compare the flight patterns of the balls, offering theories to explain why smooth and rough balls follow different paths.
Some of the boys have never played baseball. Others have barely mastered basic algebra. But for four weeks this summer, the Boston-area middle-school students are learning physics through sport in an experiment that educators hope will hook boys on math and science.