Team sports are a great way to use math in a real life situation. Kids often see math as an unnecessary evil. It can be helpful to show them that math is used by many people in many professions. One way that math is used in sports is to figure out player and team statistics. So far, we have discussed finding soccer, baseball, and basketball statistics. Football is another popular sport in which children will like finding their own football statistics.
Offensive Football Statistics
A child who plays offense in football can keep track of a couple of things depending on what position he plays.
- Quarterbacks usually record the number of passing yards for each game. Passing yards indicate how many yards the ball travels from where it is thrown. For each pass record the point where the ball was thrown from and where the ball ended up (whether it is fumbled or tackled or a touchdown was earned). Subtract the starting point from the end point to get the number of yards for that play. Then add up the yards for each play to get the total number of passing yards for that game.
- Receivers can calculate their average completion rate per game. Keep track of how many times they catch a pass and how many times they miss or fumble the catch. Add those two numbers together to get the total catching opportunities. Then divide the successful catches by the total opportunites. This will give you a decimal number answer. Move the decimal two places to the right to give a percentage of successful catches for the game.
Defensive Football Statistics
There are several different statistics that defensive players can work with such as the number of tackles, interceptions, or forced fumbles. Your child can choose to track one or more of these football statistics each game. Use a chart or bar or line graph to record the number after each game. At the end of the season discuss the graph with your child. Questions like “in which game did you have the most tackles?” or “how many tackles did you have in game six?” will allow your child to practice reading and using graphs. You could also add up the numbers from all the games and divide by the number of games to get an average of tackles or interceptions per game.
Keeping track of their football statistics not only adds another aspect to an exciting sport, but it also allows children to see how math is used in a real life setting.
How do you help children see the real life applications of math?