If you live in the United States in the summer, there are few sports that can rival the excitement of baseball for kids!  As we played at a local park last week, our kids found a baseball almost buried in the dirt.  Some of the kids discussed if we should keep the ball or leave it.  In the end, we chose to leave it in case another child should come back looking for it.  On our walk back home, one of our kids asked:  “Do you know what’s inside of a baseball?”   I had to think for a moment as I had unraveled a baseball partially (a LONG time ago), but had never fully taken one apart.

When our class doesn’t know something, we usually try to find out together.  My husband was a college baseball pitcher.  I knew he had some old baseballs in our garage.  What I didn’t realize:  most of them were autographed baseballs and he wasn’t willing to cut them in half. 🙂  We did manage to find an old little league baseball in the garage that worked for our discoveries.  Here’s what we found:

Our little league baseball was made of:

1) a center cork/rubber

2) grey wool

3) white cotton fibers

4) leather outer covering

5) red outside stitching

We searched online to see what a professional baseball was made of.  Although similar, it looked a little different than ours did on the inside.

Image by: Daniel A. Russell, Ph.D. Science & Mathematics Department, Kettering University, Flint, MI 48504-4898

In the cross-section of a professional baseball, the cork is surrounded by:  black and red rubber, white/grey wool, white cotton, the cowhide leather outer cover, and red cotton stitching.

To add a another sensory layer to our findings, we made a baseball out of Wikki Stix materials.  We used yellow for the “cork” center, red/black for the rubber coating for the center, white for the wool/yarns, another white layer for the cowhide leather, and red for the outer stitching on the baseball.

When we cut it open, it looked similar to what’s inside the professional baseball (the Wikki Stix baseball needs to be cut with a very sharp knife…ADULTS only!)

We had a great day of baseball discoveries that our children will remember for a long time.  Some of our best learning often comes from the kid’s ideas.  I love when we can take simple play and a question to turn our day into relevant learning opportunities…not only for the kids, but for the teacher, too!  


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