Some kids think math class is boring, but they'll sit and watch a sports event for hours. Hmm, how can we merge the two to make both more relevant and useful? How about using sports to teach math skills?
Math is everywhere in your student's favorite sports team, no matter if he likes football, soccer, baseball, basketball, hockey, track, or others.
Indeed, numbers are what drive sports. There are a number of teams in a league, a certain number of players, a number of rules, distances and measuring, geometry to throws, catches, kicks, and of course scoring! Math lives on a sports field.
Re-frame your student's view of math. Try practicing skills while watching your student's next favorite sport. Here are some ideas to try during the game:
1. Average each player's contribution (scores, yards, hits, etc.) in the game
2. Compare a team's final stats versus other games for the year (and make a performance graph)
3. Measure distances of important field placements (goal-to-goal, basket hoop rim circumference, etc.)
4. Calculate probability of each player's scoring potential (using past scoring numbers)
5. Create a geometry shape from a typical sports action (record average shape distances)
6. Make a pretend fantasy team and hire players using a mock budget
7. Figure percentages of increase or decrease of a league's performance (over one year or multiple years)
8. Find the mean, median, and mode of a team's players' weight and height
These ideas are just the beginning. Urge your student to think of his own ideas for applying math lesson concepts he's currently covering while he's watching the next sports game on his calendar. Direct application to the real-world will make math more engaging and show how important skills are.
Have you tried having your student apply math skills in other real-world activities (like cooking, sewing, or construction)?