Students get a lesson in math and science through Angels baseball

The students of sixth-grade teacher Natalie Hanenkrat took out blank sheets of paper and wrote the word "geometry" on the top.

"Who can share one thing they know about geometry?" Hanenkrat asked her class Thursday

Words spurt out from across the classroom.

"Area!" "Perimeter!" "Shapes!" "Angles!"

Shortly after, Hanenkrat jotted down the Pythagorean Theorem on the whiteboard. An Angels baseball banner hung above her.

The banner being there was no accident. Hanenkrat was teaching her 17 students the Angels Science of Baseball summer course, and they used the famous equation to estimate the area of Angel Stadium's field.

The Angels Science of Baseball program — one of the classes the Irvine Public Schools Foundation is offering through its 2016 Summer Enrichment Academy — is available for fourth- through sixth-grade students from any school district.

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The three-week course teaches students with curriculum developed by University of Arizona systems and industrial engineering associate professor Ricardo Valerdi.

"He came to me years ago and said, 'We'd like the Angels to be a part of it,'" said Dennis Kuhl, chairman of the Angels. "I believe strongly that anytime you can tie in something that's actually happening with a classroom or any kind of learning experience, it turns into something real that makes sense. What we believe in with the kids is that they have the aptitude for math and science, and this helps them discover that aptitude."

Since last week, the course — taught at Stonegate Elementary School in Irvine — has introduced the young learners to the connections between math and science to America's favorite pastime.

"We've done measuring of the strike zone — a square — so we can measure the area," said Anishka Durdasula, 10. "We find the area by using length times width."

Ten-year-old Anthony Theodorou, who has played Little League for about four years, said he sometimes saw how baseball relates to math. Through the class, he's learned how to find out a player's batting average.

"You divide the number of hits by the number of bats, then times it by 100," he said. "Then you get the answer."

The class also included a trip to Angel Stadium in Anaheim on Wednesday, where the team's foundation gave a $5,000 check to the Irvine Public Schools Foundation.

The Angels Science of Baseball class concludes July 8.

The Summer Enrichment Academy is also offering drawing, cooking, dance and LEGO engineering courses this summer. For more information, visit the foundation's website at ipsf.net.

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Alex Chan, alexandra.chan@latimes.com

Twitter: @AlexandraChan10

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