Mike and I discovered last fall that our kids love sports games, and we have been taking the kids to games on Stanford’s campus every since. I’m doing my best to make up for the fact that when I was in college myself I spent all of my free time working part time jobs instead of going to games. College campuses often host athletics events that won’t get much of a turn out, so tickets are free and parking is easy (very much not the case with games that get great turnouts!) Saturday we went to a volleyball game (Stanford wasn’t even playing, because we got the time wrong, but two UCLA and Pennsylvania proved highly interesting to watch), and I was amazed at how easy it was to use sports to teach math to the kids while we watched!
Counting in Sports
This is very elementary mathematics, of course, but there is a lot of counting in sports! You can count fouls, players, points, and time outs. Count UP for points, and count down how many minutes are left in the game (or time out).
Fractions in Sports
Team games are divided into innings, sets, quarters, etc. This is a great chance for kids to learn about fractions and to experience them in real time! Fields are also frequently divided into fractions.
Geometry in Sports
Sports use a lot of geometry! You can talk to your kids about what angle the players need to kick or hit the ball, as well as the different shapes of the fields and the shapes of the lines on the fields. Why are different sports fields shaped differently?
If you are looking for structured math activities that tie into sports, Deceptively Educational has a fun Fridge Football Subtraction Scrimmage Game, and Boy Mama Teacher Mama has a Football Math Fact Game. Once you have your little sports enthusiast hooked on math, check out 100 Ways to Make Math Fun at Home from Planet Smarty Pants !