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Math program a hit with Pine-Richland middle schoolers

| Wednesday, April 23, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
Eighth graders Jared Roskin and Joni Ballanca watch as Zach Riggins spins a wheel to try to get a score during a game of Fantasy Baseball Math in the Pine-Richland Stadium’s Spirit Room during the opening day of the integrated math program.
Seventh grader Abby Levier watches closely as classmate Linda Saah spins the wheel during a game of Fantasy Baseball Math in Pine-Richland Stadium’s Spirit Room during the opening day of the integrated math program.

The emphatic cheers of victory could be heard from the hallway outside the Spirit Room in Pine-Richland's Stadium.

“That's a home run!” shouted Abby Levier, 12, a seventh-grader at Pine-Richland Middle School. She and teammates Linda Saah and Victoria Compernolle, both 12, celebrated after assistant principal Caitlin Bogosta confirmed the play indeed was a home run.

Who knew learning math could be so exciting?

In the Pine-Richland Middle School Fantasy Baseball Math program, it can be.

Bogosta said the hands-on integrated math program teaches students math skills through baseball statistics and simulated game play.

Students take real and fictional baseball player statistics, such as batting average, run average and home runs, analyze the strengths and weaknesses, translate the statistics into fractions and percentages, and lay them out on a circle graph.

Once a player's circle graph is completed and a batting order is decided, teams take turns spinning a wheel on top of a player's circle graph.

Where the spinner lands will determine what type of play occurred, and the game is played and scored just like a real baseball game.

Opening Day for the PRMS Fantasy Baseball Program was held April 17 in the Stadium's Spirit Room with 84 students participating in the league. That number is up significantly from last year's 20 students.

Eighth-grader Joni Ballanco, 13, said that while getting out of regular classes to play the game is fun, fantasy baseball also is a great way to learn math.

Classmate Jared Roskin, 13, agreed.

“It really does teach us math skills, and I'm getting to learn about baseball at the same time,” Jared said.

Bogosta said the program is especially good for learning-support students or students who need hands-on inquiry-based learning environments, rather than staring at a book all day.

The winners of the Pine-Richland Fantasy Baseball Math program will compete against students from other schools at the championships May 10 at PNC Park. The winner of the final World Series game will get the opportunity to throw out the first pitch at a Pittsburgh Pirates game over the summer.

Rachel Farkas is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-779-6902 or

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