the stem lessons

The STEM lessons that are presented here are in a partial form. This is the existing narratives into which different levels of problems sets can be joined. This approach, inspired by the work of Jerry Lawson (STEM Lesson 24), developer of the initial video game cartridge, allows for flexibility. Any given narrative can be used to illustrate the use of mathematical techniques from arithmetic through calculus depending upon the needs of the student(s) and requirements of the State’s Common Core requirements.

The narratives start in basketball and wind their way along a path that delves into into biology, chemistry, physics, computer science and statistics. The guiding concept is to implicitly answer the question; “what does this have to do with my life?” before it is actually articulated.


Outside of a structured classroom setting, life presents itself in all its complexity on a real-time basis. Learning takes place as bits and pieces of information fly by. Through repeated exposures to this flow, the world can eventually be perceived with some degree of coherency. It’s this concept, how something manifests itself that can lead back to the underlying principles. Another way of putting it is to think about a typical Wiki article discussing a scientific principle. The applications will usually be the last piece of information in the article. Since the application which is part of day-to-day life is how the Math-Dunk enrollee first becomes familiar with any particular phenomenon, the project’s approach is to sequence the information in a manner that parallels day-to-day existence. 

The Prototypical Lesson

The prototype of the STEM Lessons is probably number 18, Mobile Refrigeration - Fred M. Jones.


The general tenor of educational work with black adolescents indicates that parents are supportive of education but the peer group is not. Given the absence of a male role model in many African-American households, the primary care-giver is likely to be female. Where does technology meet every member of a household? At the refrigerator.

TK Services (Thermo King) mud flaps on the trucks of my local Safeway super-market (1335 Webster St., San Francisco, CA). The first person to develop truck based mobile refrigeration was Floyd M. Jones. 

The focus on the refrigerator implicitly answers the question; “what does this have to do with my life?” It also allows for something to be shared between the parent and the perspective enrollee. If child wants to enroll in Math-Dunk, and there is enough demand such that there is competition for available space, then there some leverage to get the parent to learn as a part of the admission process for the project. Assuming the parent has access to an internet connection and a screen larger than that of a mobile phone. This can serve as a screening device and also allow the project to assess what degree of home support the enrollee has for increased learning. 




  1. Volume of the Ball

  2. Neon

  3. What’s it made of? 

  4. Basketball Court

  5. The Backboard & The Rim

  6. Basketball Metrics I

  7. Basketball Metrics II

  8. African Math & Jump Statistics

  9. The Knee

  10. The Kidney

  11. Blood Bank - Charles Drew

  12. DNA - Rich Kittles

  13. Steroids I - Percy Julian

  14. Steroids II - Percy Julian

  15. Supersoaker - Lonnie Johnson

  16. Gas Mask - Garrett Morgan

  17. Nap Attack - Garrett Morgan

For any questions, please contact David Trotman :


1519 O'farrell St. San Francisco, CA 94115