Football Math Activities for this Week
It is an exciting time of year for our football-loving students! With the big game coming up, football is the focus of many students’ conversations. I feel the most proud and confident about a lesson when it is relevant to my students’ lives. I’ve rounded up some ideas to bring that game-time excitement to your classroom!
Financial Football – Free online game
Kids can play this interactive, video-based online football game to explore financial literacy. There are options for one player, or head-to-head play.
Lesson plan PDFs to accompany the game are available as well, with options for age 11-14 (rookie), age 14-18 (pro), and even an option for 18 years and older (Hall of Fame).
It’s really well done, and students think it is pretty cool. You’ll need an active flash player on the classroom computers to use this.
Creating a Graph
Have students review the history here showing all winners, and determine the best way to represent the data on a graph. They can show all years by creating a graph that best displays the information.
This is a great opportunity to incorporate technology as well. They can do paper or poster graphs to plot it, or use tech tools to create the graph. Try having students work in pairs.
Linear Equations Football Game
Your students are sure to love this fun, football-inspired game for Algebra! With this game, there are so many easy ways to differentiate. You get two sets of “football play” cards. Set A has basic linear equations in slope-intercept form, and Set B has y-intercepts that are not integers (Students must use Point-Slope Form on these cards.)
You also get two different worksheets. Worksheet 1 has students only write equations in Slope-Intercept Form. Worksheet 2 has students finding and recording Slope-Intercept Form and Point-Slope Form.
Students pair up and play the game with their partner. Each turn a new "football play" card is drawn. The offensive player decides which of two points on the coordinate plane to pass the ball to. The defensive player decides which of two defenders will attempt a tackle. A player scores by writing the equation for the line of the pass correctly....as long as the defender did not accurately make a tackle at the same point.
Check out this video to see how the game works!
The Science of NFL football
NBC Learn teamed up with the National Science Foundation to create a 10-part video series centering on the Science of NFL football It covers everything from spheres to health and hydration to the Pythagorean Theorem.
This page is more geared towards a science class, but some videos definitely belong in your math teaching. These videos are perfect for getting your students’ attention!
I especially love this video on Geometric Shapes: Spheres, Ellipses, & Prolate Spheroids!
Mean, Median, Mode, and Range
Use this tweet map to explore the number of times each word was tweeted in each region during the 2009 game.
By hovering over areas and scrolling across the time bar, kids can see the totals. Just give a few question prompts that help them review measures of central tendency. The possibilities are endless!
STEM Lesson with #DeflateGate
This STEM-based football lesson is great for older students. It would work well for high school math, Chemistry, or Physics class. Students explore links between pressure and temperature. They’ll convert units to metric, watch a video, and use the expression P1/ T1 = P2/T2 to determine whether a cold game may have affected the inflation of the ball.
This lesson on the Ideal Gas Law can be just a quick reading of the article in the last few minutes of a class period, or you can go beyond, and try it out with a football and a freezer!
Dollars and Cents at the Concession Stands
Something I’m pretty sure everyone loves at football games are the concession stands! Bring this delicious aspect into your classroom with this creative game from Scholastic.
Scholastic shares a great idea for younger learners. Pass out poster board to small groups and have them build concession stands, drawing and pricing their menu items; using play money and a “register” have students pay for items and make change accurately.
For middle school students, consider printing out the statistics of the two teams in the superbowl, the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles. Using these numbers, have students work in pairs to find the mean, median, and mode, etc. You can also have graph the stats and compare the two teams.
If you teach a subject other than math, Scholastic offers a ton of other ideas to integrate football in your lessons!
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Pin these ideas to save for next year!
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The Many Proven Learning Benefits, and How to Get The Brain Effects in Your Own Classroom
Attention, teachers everywhere! It turns out laughter actually is the best medicine! A fascinating Huffington Post article shares that a study at California’s Loma Linda University reveals that laughter provides lower cortisol levels (the stress hormone) and better memory recall abilities.
So, we know laughter is beneficial for adults, but do you know the wide range of benefits humor and laughter can have on your students and their learning?
Take a minute and think about the lessons you remember most from middle and high school. If you’re like me, these lessons are memorable because you were laughing; there was humor somehow involved.
According to Edutopia, “Humor activates the brain's dopamine reward system, stimulating goal-oriented motivation and long-term memory, which means that humor can improve retention in students of all ages.”
Simply put, when something is funny, students have a better chance at remembering!
Humor is inherently social. When someone tells a funny joke or story, others likely want to repeat it. When there is humor in the classroom, students are more apt to socialize and build relationships with each other.
Similarly, laughter creates a bond. If your entire class is giggling or laughing over some humor, they’re forming a cohesive bond and becoming one unit.
Reduce math anxiety and stress
Math anxiety and stress are huge issues for our students in today’s classrooms. Humor is a standout solution.
According to the American Psychological Association, in his book, "Humor as an Instructional Defibrillator," Ron Berk, PhD, suggests that humor's primary psychological role is as an emotional response or buffer to relieve physical stress. Moreover, laughter has been shown to stimulate a physiological effect that decreases stress hormones such as serum cortisol, dopac and epinephrine.
How to Incorporate Humor
If you’re interested in adding some humor to your classroom, be sure to keep these tips in mind:
1) Keep it age-appropriate
Some teachers walk a fine line between using humor appropriate for their students and humor more appropriate for adults. There are many benefits to humor, but it is not worth an upset parent or student. Also along these lines, try to avoid sarcasm or other humor that could potentially be hurtful to a student. The biggest priority is always maintaining values and respect!
2) Don’t overdo it
It’s important to ensure that your students respect you and take you seriously, and that is not going to happen if you are joking around the whole class.
You need to make sure you’re comfortable. It not only helps how you feel as a teacher, but it puts your students at ease.
3) Think About Timing
One of the reasons why humor is so beneficial is that it grabs attention. Consider using humor right at the start of class or when you can see your students are becoming distracted.
Making jokes or telling funny stories at the right times really maximizes the benefits of humor.
Ways to Incorporate Humor
Now, you may be someone who naturally has jokes rolling off the tongue all day long; or, you may be wondering how to achieve these benefits of humor without completely altering your personality. If you are part of the latter, consider implementing these simple ways to add humor into your classroom on a regular basis!
Memes as part of warm-up activities
A quick and simple way to add some giggles each day is to add a meme that's related to your specific subject on warm-up activities. If you pull up the warm-up activity on the smartboard, simply paste a meme above the words beforehand.
Pinterest is full of great memes for any subject. Simply search “funny [your subject] memes” and you will get endless options!
Sharing funny stories or anecdotes in your life are a great way to add humor. Students love to hear more about your life, so it’s easy to build teacher-student relationships and make lessons a little more light-hearted.
Another way to add humor to class is by selectively adding funny components to word problems on tests or quizzes. Consider using students’ names or their favorite characters if the word problem involves people (again always keeping it positive and respectful, of course!).
Math comic of the week
Consider setting up an area on your wall or bulletin board for a math comic of the week. Posting a math comic each week will give your students something to look forward to when they walk in the room each Monday!
Pinterest is the best place to go for the most variety. Here is a Pinterest board for Math Humor that I started upon learning some of this research. I'll add to it as I find more, so follow the board for more to come later!
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Is a Square a Rhombus?: The Great Debate & How to Approach it in Geometry Class
Does a square qualify as a rhombus? This big debate has been going on for as long as I can remember! Depending on who you talk to, you will get different opinions; some will say yes, some will say no. It all comes down to your preferred definition of a rhombus.
Inclusive vs. Exclusive
In math, we have two separate definitions of a rhombus:
- Inclusive: a rhombus has four equal sides.
- Exclusive: a rhombus has four equal sides, BUT has no right angle.
Based on these definitions, the inclusive INCLUDES squares, because a rhombus can include right angles. The exclusive definitions of rhombus EXCLUDES squares, because there cannot be a right angle.
Why You Should Consider Using the Inclusive Definition
So, which definition do you use? You may have a strong opinion based on your own belief or how you were taught; this is totally fine! However, if you’re debating on which definition is correct, why not let your students explore this topic and hold their own debate?
It’s also a great opportunity to explicitly teach the above idea. Let students in on the fact that there is indeed a debate, and explore the differences between inclusive and exclusive definitions.
Can your class come up with more examples of inclusive and exclusive definitions in math? This is a great time to investigate a controversy in mathematics!
You may even want to take it a step further and have teams of 2 students find sources on the web that prefer each definition. Let them analyze the argument and decide which they feel is a better, stronger definition and share why.
Don’t miss this chance to integrate debate skills, research skills, and analyzing a source within math class. These opportunities are rare! Students learn best when they cross their curriculum-specific skills over into different subject areas.
Additional Ideas for Teaching Distinctions Between Quadrilaterals
If you are looking for other creative ideas to teach your students about quadrilaterals and their classifications, you have come to the right place!
1) Always, Sometimes, Never: Quadrilaterals
If you head on over to the Math Giraffe Teachers Pay Teacher’s store, you can find a super fun activity for teaching quadrilaterals! This challenge is perfect for getting your students thinking about parallelograms, trapezoids, squares, etc.
The download comes with two versions: a worksheet and a sorting activity. On the worksheet, they determine whether each statement is always, sometimes, or never true and color accordingly. They end up with a design that you can check for accuracy.
They can work in pairs or small groups for the sorting activity. Students sort the cards with statements into the correct category, (“Always true, sometimes true, or never true”).
2) Quadrilateral Fun!
Nichole from The Craft of Teaching provides a great inquiry activity for beginning to learn about quadrilaterals. She cuts out various quadrilaterals, and has her students work in pairs to sort them in a way that makes sense to them on a pre-made graphic organizer.
I love how this activity is student-driven; they have the opportunity to discover the properties of various quadrilaterals themselves! This makes it so much more meaningful for your students, which improves retention.
3) Quadrilaterals Bundle
This discounted bundle on the Math Giraffe Teachers Pay Teachers store has a variety of activities to teach a fun, interactive lesson on quadrilaterals for your High School Geometry Class! It includes a blend of puzzles, activities, and proofs that add the perfect mix of fun and rigor.
These supplemental activities can be spread throughout your quadrilaterals unit!
Here's what's included:
Quadrilaterals: Always, Sometimes, Never
Quadrilaterals Card Sort
Quadrilaterals (Algebra in Geometry) - GridWords
Do you have a passionate stance on whether or not a square is a rhombus? Or any great ideas for teaching Quadrilaterals? Please take a minute to write a comment below! We would love for you to weigh in.
To be extra clear, I sometimes like to write "(non-square)" along with "Rhombus" when I want students to classify by type. This way, their answers are consistent and we can agree to use that as our category while acknowledging that there could be some controversy or confusion if we are not clear on this. (see image below)
You may want to try a similar strategy in your sorting activities or definitions when you introduce the concept of a rhombus vs. a square.
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