More than 6,000 Murfreesboro City Schools' students will visit MTSU Wednesday, Dec. 3, for the third annual Education Day featuring the 11 a.m. women's college basketball game between the Blue Raiders and nonconference opponent Clemson.
This marks the third year of the MTSU partnership with the city schools system, which is led by Director Linda Gilbert, who has earned three degrees from her alma mater.
"This is one of the most exciting days for Murfreesboro City Schools," said Gilbert, whose school system crafted the idea to partner with MTSU. "For many of our students, this will be the first time they are introduced to a college campus. It's important for them to see post secondary education opportunities at an early age as research shows they begin to imagine their future careers by the age of 8."
Twelve Murfreesboro City Schools will send more than 6,200 students and 600 teachers, education staff and administrators to the event via a combined 50 city and county schools' buses. Also participating is Homer Pittard Campus School, a K-5 school operated by MTSU as part of Rutherford County Schools.
City schools attending will include Black Fox, Bradley Academy, Cason Lane, Discovery School, Erma Siegel, Hobgood Elementary, John Pittard, Mitchell-Neilson, Northfield, Overall Creek, Reeves Rogers and Scales.
University officials said the Greenland Drive and Middle Tennessee (Woodfin) lots will be closed in order to accommodate the buses. Following the game, the lots will reopen to all valid MTSU permit holders.
Leigh McNeil and the MTSU MTeach program she manages are creating a nearly 15-minute math- and science-related activity, which will involve four or five students, plus a ball retriever. MTeach is a secondary mathematics and science teacher preparation program at MTSU.
The activity, which will begin at 10 a.m., will involve students "trying to launce balls into a hula hoop-type goal.
"We are going to connect what we are doing on the court with what students learn in the classroom," McNeil said, adding that they "will put together a list of lesson ideas, with links to the applicable math and science standards for grades 3 through 5."
T-shirts will be given to the participating students and their teachers.
"Teachers are working with students on math tasks in their rooms already," said Lisa Trail, communications director with Murfreesboro City Schools.
The 2013 Education Day, which drew a crowd of 10,028 fans (fourth-largest crowd in MT women's basketball history), included a math-science project that featured hovercraft bowling.
Lightning, MTSU's mascot, will be joined by Thunder the Mustang from Reeves-Rogers.
The Blue Raider women are 2-0 in previous Education Day games. MTSU is 2-2 on the young season. Senior Cheyenne Parker scored 25 points in her debut as MTSU beat Ole Miss 71-65. The visiting Tigers are 3-4 and sport a three-game losing streak. Nikki Dixon leads the team, averaging 15.3 points per game.