Exploring STEM through Sports

Presented in partnership with the Brooklyn Nets, STEMBall uses sports to engage students in learning about science, technology, engineering, and math.


Students in grades 3-12 (grade-based divisions)


1-day science fair featuring sports-based projects


Saturday, March 23, 2019 from 9am – 1pm


At the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY


According to studies, there is a glaring deficit
of U.S. students prepared for opportunities
in STEM—now and in the future.

One of the best ways to encourage youth to pursue careers in STEM is to develop their interest through hands-on experiences. The language of sport is universal, often breaking down the very barriers that exist to more diverse participation in STEM. By providing opportunities to explore the many ways sports and STEM intersect, we hope to get youth thinking about STEM as part of their daily lives beyond the classroom.


At $38.85, the average median hourly wage for STEM jobs is 99% more than the average hourly wage for all other types of jobs ($19.30).


of surveyed students said science experiences with a family member or a childhood activity piqued their initial interest in science according to a 2014 study by George Mason University.


Only 2 percent of African-American women and 2 percent of Hispanic women work in science and engineering.

How does it work?

What if we cheered on young explorers the way we do young athletes?

The STEMBall gives students a chance to create, explore, and connect by relating their love of sports to various STEM ideas. Leading up to the event, students work together to design and test their projects. On the day of the event, students showcase their work at the Barclays Center, home of the Brooklyn Nets. Projects must incorporate science, technology, engineering, and/or math with a sport or sports concept.


Prior to the event, students work together at their school or program to develop their project. Ideas should solve a problem in sports using STEM. Teams are encouraged to be as original and creative as possible, as long as projects are safe, interactive, and sports-focused.


Teams should be prepared with a 3-5 minute interactive presentation demonstrating the outcome of their project for a panel of judges at the STEMBall. After judging, teams will continue to showcase their projects to other participants and guests as part of the fair.


Each team will receive 25 tickets to a Brooklyn Nets home game at the Barclays Center. Students will also have a chance to hear from the Nets on how they use STEM to keep their team and organization ready to compete at the highest level!

“One of the things that my experience has taught me is that if you are trained as a scientist in your youth…if you stay with the STEM disciplines, you can learn pretty much all of the subjects as you move along in life. And your scientific disciplines play a very important role, and ground you very well as you move into positions of higher and higher authority, whatever the job is.”

Indra Nooyi

CEO, Pepsi

The Project

Encouraging creativity & exploration

The categories below are meant to serve simply as a guide to get started on developing ideas. No idea is too big or too small.


Why are footballs shaped that way? How can we make them travel faster? What if we built a robot that could catch fly balls? Do certain sneakers make you jump higher or run faster? What’s the most accurate heart rate monitor?

Projects in this category use STEM to create or improve sports products and equipment, or even educate us on the reasons behind the design of the tools we use to compete.


How much water does an NBA player need to stay hydrated? Are energy drinks healthy? How can we prevent injuries in young athletes? Why is sleep so important to performance on the field?

Projects in this category deal with the connection between mind, body and game. Discover ways to improve the health and safety of athletes at all levels – from youth to the pros.


How is math used to measure success on the field? How do percentages and probability predict the likelihood of shots going in? Why not create a new stat for your favorite sport?

Projects in this category analyze the games we love, and inform fans and consumers of what’s actually happening between the lines.


What if we created our own version of Fortnite? Or designed an app to find places to play? How can we incorporate technology into gym class? What would a youth-led sports news and information platform look like?

Projects in this category imagine the future of sports in an increasingly digital society.



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