Monday, September 26, 2011

Football and Math

I'm sitting on a Saturday afternoon, watching college football, and thinking about all the ways it can be used in the math classroom.  Our youngest children can identify jersey numbers.  They can look at the players and compare taller and shorter, larger and smaller, heavier and lighter.  Our first and second graders can find the difference between scores.  We can take our questioning deeper by looking at the UCLA (Go Bruins!) vs. Oregon St. Beavers game. 
                    UCLA      27
                    Oregon   19
     How could Oregon have scored 19 points?  Is there more than one correct answer?  (And could you solve it with model drawing?)  Here's a great place to practice your questioning!  
     For the upper grades, we have trouble finding real life examples of big numbers, but how about Reser Stadium that holds 45,674 seats?  Working on division?  The Beavers managed only 88 yards in 29 carries.  What about integers?  That ball moves up and down the field a lot!  
     What other math is found in such a high interest sport?  Time, percentages, fractions (the game is played in quarters and halves!)  Ask your students to write some questions.  

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