With a growing need to incorporate more math and science in the school curriculum, a trio of Pittsburgh Penguins visited Avalon Elementary School to learn how hockey is shaping student’s understanding of such subjects.
Eric Fehr, Nick Bonino and Beau Bennett visited the Northgate School District to interact with students and support the “Future Goals” educational program.
“Future Goals” is a joint effort between the NHL and the NHL Players Association that uses a program called “Hockey Scholar,” which utilizes hockey-related themes to help students understand real world uses of such subjects.
“It was stuff that was confusing to me,” Bennett jokingly said after assisting students one-on-one with the program. “I’ve been out of the school game for a while, but even the short period of time here, I felt like everything was pretty straight forward.
“When I was their age I had this game called Number Munchers, and that was way back in the day. We didn't have computers and programs like this at all.”
The program brings interactive opportunities to each of the NHL’s 30 markets between the United States and Canada. The program is committed to helping students become college-ready and career-ready.
“Future Goals” is designed for elementary students from grades 4-7, and has already reached 370,000 students across 3,500 schools. Within the next three years, it will reach well over one million students.
“It was a great experience,” Fehr said. “There were some tricky questions and every kid was working on something different. Some of the kids weren’t trusting me on the multiple choice questions. They weren't quite sure if I was right.
“Some of the questions were asking about the heart rate like, ‘how high would the heart rate be in practice?’ And I thought that was a very good question. That’s probably something kids don't think about, but something we know, so I was able to help them with that one.”
Avalon Elementary, huge supporters of the Penguins, decorated their halls with tons of student drawn, team-related artwork. Principal Joe Peacock said the “Future Goals” program and support from the team is a big reason for his students’ success.
“Hockey ties in hand-and-hand with everything that they’re looking for,” Peacock said. “Whether it be physics or the engineering aspects behind it. It’s a fast-paced sport, so kids keep interest in things that keep moving.”
Student Haley Baker said she loves math, and loves the addition of computers and hockey even more.
“It’s not like just reading a book, you get to experience it,” the sixth-grader said. “Math and science are a big part of everything, and I’m learning a lot.”
For more information about the “Future Goals” program visit www.futuregoals.nhl.com/penguins.