Jane Werner of Pittsburghs' Children’s Museum, at the opening of the Chevron STEM Zone at PNC Park. Image courtesy of FTI Consulting.

Should you teach your kids math and science or take them to a Pirates game? At the new STEM Zone for kids at PNC Park, you can do both.

The theory behind the new play space is this: Science, technology, engineering and math are threaded throughout the game of baseball. Pitchers manage the aerodynamics of a ball hurtling toward the plate to strike out a batter. Fielders calculate the angle of a ball as they race to catch it. And every new batting helmet and chest protector is designed through safety technology and engineering.

That opens up a great pathway for teaching those vitals skills in a hands-on way that kids can relate to and enjoy.

Through a partnership between Chevron, the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh Pirates, visitors to PNC Park can explore a bit of the science behind the sport in this new hands-on learning exhibit along the park’s Riverwalk.

“Through this installation, we can extend the reach of our interactive learning experiences beyond the museum environment to more places where children and families play,” said Jane Werner, executive director of the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, at the ribbon cutting on Friday. “We thank Chevron and the Pirates for their shared commitment to promoting innovative learning.”

The exhibit includes educational exercises like a measuring wall, and interactive displays using baseball equipment and statistics. And to help promote the idea of mixing STEM learning and sports, families are encouraged to take photos in the STEM Zone and share them online with the hashtag #STEMMVP.

The STEM Zone and Chevron’s “Game On”display, which focuses on the science behind sports, aren’t new: They’ve been featured at MLB, NFL and PGA Tour events across the country. But PNC Park is now the first Major League Baseball stadium to host a stationary Chevron STEM Zone display that will be available all season long. Ticket-holders can access it before and during all Pirates home games.

“We appreciate Chevron’s generous support of this project that perfectly aligns with our commitment to youth programs focused on education,” said Pittsburgh Pirates President Frank Coonelly at the opening event. “We have one of the best ballparks in baseball and this exhibit further adds to the family-centered experience fans can expect while at PNC Park. Through community partnerships like this, we can create better opportunities for children across the community.”

Melissa Rayworth

Kidsburgh Editor Melissa Rayworth specializes in stories about culture, gender, design and parenting. She has written for a variety of outlets in the U.S. and Asia, and is a frequent contributor to The...