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The Bean Game, Sports Edition
A pile of softballs, a helmet, a glove, a bat, and home plate
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social stratification
dimensions of inequality
children and youth
family inequality
extracurricular activities

How to Cite

Wells, Makeela. 2023. “The Bean Game, Sports Edition”. TRAILS: Teaching Resources and Innovations Library for Sociology, June. Washington DC: American Sociological Association.


Research has consistently shown that a family’s social class can influence children’s introduction to sports, their continuance in participating in sports, and the types of sports to which they are exposed. This class activity provides students with an active learning experience in understanding the relationship between social stratification and sports...

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Subject Area(s):
Children and Youth, Leisure/Sports/Recreation, Stratification/Mobility
Resource Type(s):
Class Activity
Class Level(s):
Any Level
Class Size(s):

Usage Notes

Although this activity may work best for an undergraduate course related to the sociology of sport, it can be adopted in any undergraduate-level course with a focus on social stratification, social class, and social mobility.

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Learning Goals and Assessments

Learning Goal(s):

  1. To assist students in becoming more familiar with basic concepts and facts of stratification and inequality within the larger society. Students will demonstrate an understanding of sociological concepts of stratification and inequality and the trends and patterns regarding wealth distribution, household income, and social inequality in the United States.
  2. To apply the sociological paradigms to understanding the relationship between inequality and U.S. sports. Students will discuss the role of inequality in sports from functionalist and conflict theory perspectives.
  3. To understand the role social stratification (or social class) plays in children’s exposure to sports. Students will communicate in writing the role of systematic unequal distribution of socio-economic resources, social status, and life chances on access to sport participation and spectatorship.

Goal Assessment(s):

  1. Students will work individually or in groups to navigate a set of scenarios in order to understand how the amount of discretionary funds a family has may impact the chances of sport participation for children.
  2. Students will respond to discussion prompts regarding each scenario presented in the activity to assess similarities and differences in their decision-making regarding children's sports participation.

When using resources from TRAILS, please include a clear and legible citation.

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