In a time when women in sport and the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths are on the rise, an innovative education project led by our Newcastle Eagles women’s team is breaking down stereotypes.

The Science Of Basketball programme encourages Key Stage 2 students to tackle key STEM topics, such as percentages, ratios, averages and forces, by making the classroom come to life through the fast-paced and statistically focused professional sport.

And thanks to the backing of the Reece Foundation, over a thousand schoolchildren from across the region have already benefited from this game-changing and dynamic approach that puts one of the UK’s fastest-growing and most inclusive sports at the heart of STEM.

At the helm of the project are Newcastle Eagles WBBL favourites Chloe Gaynor and Marina Fernandez, both University graduates of STEM subjects.

The Science Of Basketball gives North East schoolchildren dynamic ways to apply the key skills of STEM in a fun and educational visit to the Vertu Motors Arena.

“It’s important to be a part of this project and see the impact that this programme has on the students taking part,” said project coordinator Gaynor.

“It’s great to see them enjoying the time they spend with us at the Vertu Motors Arena. They learn with us and then we see many of them at our games wanting to find out more.

“It’s a real highlight to hear the kids talk about their experience with STEM when they speak to us after our games.

“It shows just what an impact programmes like this can have on young people’s lives.”

A strong emphasis on the Eagles’ WBBL roster throughout the delivery means the The Science Of Basketball also reveals how women can make their mark across a range of roles on and off the court and the various career pathways sport can offer, including a focus on female data analysts working in the NBA.

Reece Foundation — established in 2007 for the long term prosperity of the North East by supporting engineering and manufacturing in the region through funding and education — has supported The Science Of Basketball since its pilot.

Students complete a colourful booklet through the session to bring their learning to life from the interactive activity.

Its focus on the improvement of education in engineering and related scientific and mathematical subjects means the Eagles’ innovative programme emerged as the perfect fit.

Faye Dent, Grants Manager at the Reece Foundation said: “It’s great to be able to continue supporting The Eagles with their innovative and inspiring project, The Science of Basketball, which is already reaching so many young people.

“We aim to inspire the younger generation and provide STEM education and employment opportunities which will have a positive impact on people’s lives and make a difference to the north east region.”

Students delve deeper into the ‘how’ and ‘why’ of the subjects, which enhances their understanding at a key time in preparation for SATS.

This year the project will be delivered into 30 schools across the region, engaging over 2,000 students.

WBBL player and project cooridnator Chloe Gaynor helps the students through the interactive activities in their workbooks.
Students of Battle Hill Primary are one of 11 North Tyneside Learning Trust schools to benefit from taking part in the program.

Katrina Moffat, Project Manager, North Tyneside Learning Trust, said: “I was incredibly impressed with The Science Of Basketball programme and how it was delivered.

“It was pitched at a level that supported the national curriculum, engaged the young people and really inspired them.

“Being able to see how STEM can be applied in real life supports careers education as well as STEM subjects and makes it more tangible for the students.

“The players who delivered the sessions made it fun and informative and it’s a great way to spend a morning. I can’t wait to offer this to our schools again next year!”