Education Technology

Pro Football Player John Urschel Visits Philadelphia School District Students to Explore STEM Behind Sports

PHILADELPHIA – Eighth grade students from throughout The School District of Philadelphia were visited by Baltimore Ravens Offensive Lineman and published mathematician, John Urschel, as part of STEM Behind Sports Day, sponsored by GEAR UP and Texas Instruments.

“When our students make the connection that what they are learning in class translates to their favorite sports or outdoor activities, they are more engaged both inside and outside the classroom,” said Dr. William R. Hite, Superintendent of The School District of Philadelphia. “Suddenly, the world of athletics makes sense to them in an exciting way it didn’t before. We are grateful to John Urschel and our partners for helping to bring these unique learning opportunities to our students.”

When not playing football, Urschel, a Penn State University graduate, is completing a Ph.D. in applied mathematics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He was on hand today at The High School of the Future to discuss his academic work and participate in STEM activities with students, including exploring the composition of a baseball, measuring grip and pinch strength to perform muscle fatigue studies, and programming robots to play sports.

“Showcasing the STEM behind sports is a powerful way to get students engaged in STEM and show them it’s rooted in reality,” said Urschel. “It’s rewarding to partner with Texas Instruments to inspire students to think about how they can use what they are learning in math and science class in fun and unexpected ways.”

STEM Behind Sports is designed help students, teachers and parents see how math and science can transfer from the classroom to the football field, and beyond. Other activities in the program have explored the STEM behind sports like cycling, running and swimming.

Students from the following elementary schools participated in today’s event: Julia deBurgos; Spring Garden; A.B. Day; Roosevelt; Benjamin Franklin; Welsh; Dunbar; Greenfield; and Lamberton. Students from Harding Middle School also took part.

More information about the program can be found online at

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