Fun and learning can go hand in hand and the Chicago Wolves are making it possible for them to go hand in hockey stick, too. Chicago’s American Hockey League team is not only fun to watch, their games offer educational opportunities for kids.
School-Day Games cover curriculum from arithmetic to Zambonis
The Wolves have School-Day Games a few times a year, including an upcoming one on Feb. 27. Played during the day, thousands of first- through eighth-graders fill the stands for this fun field trip. Each student gets an interactive workbook with educational activities aligned with Common Core standards that educators helped create. School-Day Games are open to both school groups and homeschoolers.
During the game they learn about everything from math, which range from simple points per game for younger students to how to calculate goals-against averages for older kids, to the science behind how a Zamboni works. Reading comprehension is emphasized, and there’s even an animal anatomy lesson on the jumbotron featuring Skates, the Wolves’ mascot.
“School-Day Games turn a hockey game into a unique educational experience,” says Stefanie Evans, senior director of program development for the Chicago Wolves.
Carnegie Hall may be far away, but Allstate Arena is not. School bands, chorale groups and dance teams can all perform at a Wolves games. It is both a unique opportunity to share their talents as well as a great reason to practice, practice, practice.
“Performing at a game gives kids an opportunity to learn how to perform in front of thousands of people and gain confidence,” says Evans, who reports that there are usually several groups appearing each game.
Some teachers find the experience so helpful that they’ve brought their school group every year for the past 10 years. Booking for this popular opportunity begins in the spring.
Physics is essential to good skating, from the importance of friction–essential for stopping on skates–to seeing each of Newton’s three Laws of Motion at work. Also, it’s a chance to understand basic principles, such as how ice forms, and more advanced ones, such as kinematics, the branch of classical mechanics focused on the motion of objects.
While it’s a special feature at School-Day Games, any Wolves game is a chance to see players from around the world. It’s fun for kids to see athletes from countries like Finland and Sweden competing in their own back yard. Exploring where the players hail from and learning about their native lands is a great way to learn geography and world cultures.
Also, several players from Canada speak French and have made appearances at local high school French classes to help students develop their language skills and share information about their culture.
It’s inspiring to watch players who grew up on different continents operating together seamlessly as a unified group in pursuit of a goal – literally.
At a Wolves game, cooperation and teamwork is impossible to miss. There isn’t a bad seat at Allstate Arena so kids have the opportunity to observe up close the way the players and coaches communicate with each other. They can also see how each player has an important role, which can help them see the importance of being a team player, whether that’s on their own sports team, in the classroom or within their family.
Players also appear at events as part of Read to Succeed to encourage reading and Howl for Your Health programs to encourage physical activities.
“The Wolves differentiate ourselves by offering educational programming and it’s an important part of our mission,” says Evans.