Fourth grade student Tayshaun Ibarra from Rio Vista Elementary in Anaheim had a hard time deciding which part of this year's Anaheim Ducks First Flight Field Trip was his favorite.

From the interactive stations he and his classmates explored outside Honda Center to watching the Ducks players take part in on-ice skills demonstrations that illustrated science concepts, Ibarra ultimately couldn't choose.
"I liked everything!" the 10-year old said with a smile.
One thing Ibarra knew for sure-he and his classmates were getting a lesson on the principles of energy. And the Ducks were using hockey to make that lesson come to life.
"We learned about kinetic energy and how it works with hockey," Ibarra said. "They showed examples of energy with hockey. It's teaching us with hockey, so it's teaching us with a fun sport."
Ibarra was one of more than 16,000 local third through sixth graders from across Southern California elementary schools who participated in the 18th annual Anaheim Ducks S.C.O.R.E. Program First Flight Field Trip. And with this year's theme of "Turn Up The Energy," the Ducks had a captive audience that was energized and ready to learn.
With the goal of promoting and exploring STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) education, First Flight aims to show the students real life applications of science concepts, such as kinetic and potential energy. By teaching science through the sport of hockey, the kids are inspired to think beyond the textbook in a unique and fun environment.


"What I hope our students can take away from this is that they can all be free thinkers, try something new and know that they can succeed," said Ibarra's fourth grade teacher, Jennifer Raya. "It's awesome that the Ducks support our program and our schools in this way."
The First Flight experience began long before the students arrived at Honda Center. Each participating school was sent a kit of workbooks and materials that allowed teachers to explore the field trip's theme with their students through a number of in-classroom and at-home lessons.
"My kids love all of the activities that they provide with the workbook," Raya said. "It's a lot of math, a lot of science. The Ducks send the materials for them to do a hands-on experiment, which they get in to, as well as some projects they can try at home. And they love all of that."
Once at the Honda Center parking lot, the kids were able to participate in more than 70 hands-on exhibits run by nearly 350 volunteers. The Ducks partnered with a number of local educational organizations and corporations, such as Cal State Fullerton, whose multiple subject teaching credential candidates were on hand to run interactive stations they had designed specifically around the field trip's theme of energy.
"It's a unique opportunity for the students," said Christine Mayfield, a lecturer at Cal State Fullerton's Department of Elementary and Bilingual Education. "What the Anaheim Ducks are providing through the S.C.O.R.E. Program and First Flight is a way for the children to see real world applications of science concepts. And our teaching candidates are honing their skills through this event. They're getting better at the craft of teaching."
After the students went inside the arena and got a glimpse of a Ducks practice session, the players did some of their own teaching by using their hockey skills to demonstrate several of the workbook lessons. Led by field trip hosts Wild Wing and Promotional and Entertainment Coordinator JoJo Maestrado, potential and kinetic energy were on display through slap shots, face-offs, passing and shooting.
The on-ice lesson concluded when the players helped Wild Wing score a goal through the use of a Rube Goldberg Machine (
). Incorporating everything from bowling balls, buckets and pulleys to balloons, pucks and sticks, the elaborate "Wing Machine" used a series of contraptions and the Law of Conservation of Energy to move the puck across the ice and score a goal.
The concepts learned through Ducks S.C.O.R.E. Program initiatives, such as the First Flight Field Trip, help to build a foundation for future learning in the fields of STEAM. As the elementary students move into middle school and high school, opportunities to put their learning into action through projects like the Orange County Department of Education's ocMaker Challenge (ocmakerchallenge.com) provide reinforcement of 21st century skills.


"At an event like this, it gives an opportunity for all students to have an interest, and it brings relevance to all of their education," said Administrator of the Career Technical Education (CTE) Group at the Orange County Department of Education, Jillian Johnson-Sharp. "Not only do the students identify particular skills they didn't think they were good at, but opportunities like this respond to a lot of the elements we know are crucial in order to be successful. When an organization like the Ducks supports this type of education, it makes a huge difference."
Since the club is committed to investing in the community through education, the Ducks players know how important their role is in giving back.
"It's a big part of what our organization stands for," said Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf. "Our ownership came in years ago and really put that at the forefront of what they wanted to do in the community. We've been able to carry it out and build on it."
For Ibarra and the 160 students from Rio Vista Elementary in attendance with him, the science of hockey to contributes to a life-long love of learning.
"I liked how we learned all about science today," said Ibarra. "It's a great opportunity to come here to watch the Ducks play and have them teach us about energy. I liked everything. That was really fun."
For more information on the Anaheim Ducks S.C.O.R.E. Program, visit