Focus on...the 2010 football World Cup
Can there be anyone who does not know that the Football World Cup is happening this summer? From 11 June to 11 July, football fans will be in heaven - or perhaps hell - if their favourite team is knocked out early in the tournament. The 2010 Football World Cup games will be played at a series of venues in South Africa. The tournament comes around every four years, often alternating between the Americas and Europe/Africa/Asia. A total of 64 matches will be played in ten different stadia in nine different locations (two are in Johannesburg) spread across South Africa.
There are 208 national teams and 204 of them took part in the qualification process. Each of the 32 teams which qualified for the World Cup received $1 million for preparation costs. Financial prizes are also awarded to the teams depending on the point at which they exit the tournament:
|Round of 16
Zakumi is the official mascot for the 2010 World Cup. His name comes from ZA, the international abbreviation for South Africa, and the word for ‘ten’ in many South African languages, kumi. He is a stylised leopard with dreadlocks and a wide smile. Zakumi always carries his football around with him and uses it to invite people to play. His motto is "Zakumi's game is Fair Play".
The new South African national flag first flew on 10 May 1994 – the day Nelson Mandela became president, two weeks after the country's first democratic elections of 27 April 1994 – "not as a symbol of a political party, nor of a government, but as a possession of the people – the one thing that is literally and figuratively above all else, our flag". More than 7 000 designs were entered into a competition for the new flag, but none of them received enthusiastic support. The final design was published on 20 April 1994, only one week before the flag was due to be inaugurated.
Draw a simple T-shirt on paper or plain fabric such as calico. Either draw different large outline numerals to the shirts or ask the children to. Invite children to decorate each numeral however they wish, using fabric pens, collage materials, felt pens etc. Ask them to order these on a large washing line. Hide one or two shirts. Can the children tell you which ones are missing?
Learn to count to 10 in one of the South African languages. Use a book to help – Count Your Way Through South Africa by Jim Haskins & Kathleen Benson ISBN 0-8225-6048-8 for Zulu; Count on Your Fingers African Style by Claudia Zaslavsky ISBN 0-86316-250-9 for traditional finger counting of various African peoples.
Complete the missing numbers on the shirts sheet. The numbers can be altered to suit the needs of the children.
The competition is organised in eight groups of four teams. What other ways can you find to organise the teams? All groups must be equal or some teams would have more chance of getting through than others.
Each of the participating countries has its own flag. Download the flag sheet and sort the flags according to different criteria, such as:
- symmetrical/not symmetrical
- number of lines of symmetry
- number of colours
- horizontal/vertical lines
- straight/curved lines
- own criteria.
Which type of diagram would be best to record your results? Carroll diagram, Venn diagram or something different? Why? South Africans claim to have the world’s only six-colour flag. Is this true?
Use the payout table above to calculate the total prize fund to include payments to all teams!
Examine a set of dominoes. A full set of double six dominoes has 28 different dominoes. Every number appears with itself and each of the other numbers including the blank. If you were to make a set of World Cup 2010 flag dominoes, how many dominoes will there be? Make the set as a class. Print out the flags and glue to thin card, or create a simple template in a word processing programme. Print on card or paper and laminate. Experiment with how many players and how many dominoes each make a good game.
What if all 208 teams had qualified? How many groups of four would there be now? Each group of four must play six games so that every team has played every other team in the group. For group ABCD, the matches would be AB, AC, AD, BC, BD, CD. Both the winner and runner up go forward to the next round from the first set of games. Thereafter, only the winner goes through to the next round, but there is also a playoff for third place between the two losers of the semi-finals. How many games would need to be played to find the winner? What other ways can you find to organise the teams? All groups must be equal or some teams would have more chance of getting through than others. Find out how many games would need to be played to find the winner of your arrangement.
Use this map to find the distances between each stadium. You can use the direction tab to find the distance from one stadium to another. Find the shortest route to visit every stadium once, starting and finishing at two different stadia.
Metin Tolan, a university professor says he has proved that Germany will win the 2010 World Cup after devising a mathematical formula that calculates the winner. He claims that Germany has won the World Cup three times, in 1954, 1974, and 1990 with an average finishing place of 3.7. What does the 3.7 mean? Use the internet to find the results of the World Cup in question and try to work out how Tolan reached the number 3.7. Can you use his idea to check his prediction?
Put the names of each team into a bag and invite each member of the class, including adults, to pick one out without looking. Children can research their own team, finding out the names of the players, when and where their team is playing and which team they will be playing against. Display the information and annotate with comments as the tournament progresses.
Other useful NCETM resources
- Primary Magazine Issue 23 It's in the News!
- World Cup Fantasy Football thread in the Primary Forum
- Secondary Magazine Issue 54 Up2d8 maths looks at England's chances of winning
- Football shirt flip flop and related activities in Maths to Share in Issue 18 of the Primary Magazine
Other useful resources
- The FIFA 2010 World Cup site has a countdown clock and much more
- South Africa Information, where you can find out about the two items used by fans at every football game - the vuvuzela trumpet and the makarapa, the modified, decorated miner's helmet; you can also learn the Diski Dance!
Background information on South Africa
- The BBC website has a chronology of key events in South Africa, and a country profile; South Africa History has much useful information.