Indiana State University Newsroom

Batter up: Go Figure introduces math, science to children

July 30, 2013

The sights and sounds of baseball buzzed through the Terre Haute Children's Museum as players from the Terre Haute Rex helped children apply math and science to America's favorite pastime.

The July 24 "Go Figure" event featured a collaboration between the Indiana State University Center for Math Education, ISU's Old National Bank Financial Health Outreach Program and the Terre Haute Children's Museum to help children understand the math and science behind all aspects of baseball including pitching, batting statistics and field statistics, the cost of attending a game and nutritious foods that players should eat on game day.

Patty Butwin, ISU Center for Mathematics Education advisory board member and co-developer of the Go Figure program, said the program is designed "for young students to see how math fits different aspects of their lives," including baseball.

"Baseball is probably one of the most ubiquitous uses of statistics," said Butwin, "and understanding statistics is a key skill that youngsters need to know long term."

Although the Go Figure program has targeted third, fourth and fifth graders in the past, the summer series offered something for all museum attendees.

"The Go Figure leadership team has decided to try to expand our reach to children of all ages and their parents by offering several special days at the museum where the entire family can get involved in a variety of hands-on science, technology, mathematics and engineering activities," said Butwin.

Marissa Goins, a senior math education major from Clarksville, Tenn., said Go Figure allows children to see math and science from a "different perspective than the classroom."

"A lot of kids are scared of these subjects because they don't like them and can't see how they are related to real-life situations," said Goins. "When they come here and figure out how much it costs to go to a baseball game and they can hear about statistics and meet the players it just gives them a little more encouragement to be involved in math."

A volunteer of the program for three years, Goins hopes that children leave the Go Figure events with more "excitement" and a "desire" to apply what they have learned to their own lives.

Tyler Wampler, a senior physical education major who plays baseball for Indiana State, thinks that math and science need to be a "vital" part of children's lives, even at an early age.

"Everything we do in life and in the real-world has to do with math and science-even sports have math and science," said the Terre Haute, Ind., native.

Wampler, who plays shortstop for the Sycamores and Terre Haute Rex, thinks that it is important for the team members to be involved in the community because "it's important for young kids in the community to have people to look up to."

Butwin echoed his sentiments saying, "Baseball players have a long history of giving back, and giving back to the community is part of being successful."

She said that she hopes to continue to have ISU students and athletes participate with Go Figure events, saying that the Sycamores serve as "good mentors and role models" for children.

"The Terre Haute community is very fortunate to have lots of wonderful ISU students who understand the importance of being active on campus and the greater Wabash Valley community," said Butwin.

Photo: Schwab and Tyler Wampler with the Terre Haute Rex help a young fan with his batting. ISU Photo/Rachel Keyes Goins assists with information during the Go Figure event at the Terre Haute Children's Museum. ISU Photo/Rachel Keyes

Writer: Emily Sturgess, media relations assistant, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3773 or