Football fans everywhere are excited that their favorite teams are back in action. And, according to Laura Overdeck, mother of three and founder of the Bedtime Math national online community, football season is a great time for parents to encourage young football fans to enjoy math.
Several of Laura’s football math suggestions are below.
1. Measure yards. Just about everything in football is measured in yards. The field is divided into 10-yard increments, and passes, runs, and the distance needed to get to the next down are all calculated in yards. Introduce your kids to the yard measurement while watching the game on TV, then head outside to measure out your own 10-yard lines. Practice passing and running, and help you kids keep track of the number of yards they travel or throw.
2. Count by multiples of seven. The football scoring system presents a great opportunity to work on incremental counting. Each touchdown plus kick adds seven points to a team’s score. Every time your team scores, ask you kids to calculate the new score by adding six and then one to the current score. For older kids, practice multiplication – one touchdown times seven equals seven points, two touchdowns time seven equals fourteen points, etc.
3. Statistical analysis. Create a colorful graph on a piece of paper or poster board, and use it throughout the season to track various stats about your favorite team and/or players. At the end of the season, calculate the total number of yards each player ran or the touchdowns each team scored. If you keep track of multiple teams over the course of the season, use end-of-season totals to see which teams and players performed the best.
Overdeck, who studied astrophysics at Princeton, founded Bedtime Math earlier this year to help parents inspire a love of math in young kids by finding exciting opportunities for math learning in everyday activities. Through Bedtime Math, parents receive a nightly math problem to do with their children; each problem is adapted for various age levels (Wee Ones, Little Kids, Big Kids) and draws on real-life, kid-friendly examples.