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Learning Maths Outside the Classroom - Maths at the match

This page has been archived. The content was correct at the time of original publication, but is no longer updated.
Created on 29 September 2010 by ncetm_administrator
Updated on 22 October 2010 by ncetm_administrator
Sport and Adventurous ActivitiesSport and Adventurous Activities
Maths at the match

A favourite activity for secondary pupils at this special school is the trip to their local Championship team’s home matches at Preston North End. A few matches during the season are chosen as school activities to give the class chance to use real maths in a purposeful way.

  • First they work out the distance to travel and estimate the time it will take to get to the ground. They build in time for delays and allow time to queue, buy a drink and food as well as leaving time to get comfortably to their seat. All this presents a good opportunity to use a time line. With everything included in the time-line, the young people can then work out what time to leave school and when they expect to get home. Some will even extend the line to allow them to work out what time to leave their home to go to school to meet up.
  • A big part of the match experience will be cost. As well as the entrance charge, they need to include cost of travel and food. Some will include the cost of match programme and a few will call at the club shop before matches to buy merchandise.
  • Inside the ground and during the game presents many more opportunities to use mathematics.
  • Among the more common will be estimation of the number of seats in a stand. Different pairs will do this for all four sides of the ground and share answers to give ground capacity. More able pupils will estimate the number of empty seats and work out the proportion of capacity taken up.
  • One thing which fascinated one group was the amount of added time the referee gives at the end and how does this relate to the actual time lost. Using stopwatches, they time how long the ball was out of play [at throw-ins, corners, free-kicks, etc]. They check time lost through injury stoppages. One group even decided to check time lost for goal celebrations. At some games the club used a “multi-ball” system where the ball boys have several balls and can throw a new one in as soon as one is kicked out. At other games the same ball had to be recovered and thrown back. Groups checked whether less time was really lost with multi-ball.
  • The field of play presents many opportunities to explore maths. Measurement of the length and width of the playing area [including penalty box, 6-yard box, centre circle, corner quadrants]. the height and width of goals. Some children tried to estimate how far an assistant referee would run up and down the line in a game; they found this too difficult for a player or the referee.
  • Back in school, much work is possible on the financial aspects of the game. With attendance figures, the pupils attempted to work out the receipts for the game. Lots of discussion took place about the different ticket prices, how many paid which price [and who did not pay at all!]. Talk went on to other receipts [food, programmes, etc].
  • Finding all possibilities offers activities around combinations of shirts shorts and socks. This can be as complex or simple as needed for the level of ability of the children. Best results are when children physically manipulate paper [laminated] shirts, shorts and socks.
  • Inevitably the other side of the finance issue was players’ wages. There was lot of estimating who earned what. This led to the whole field of transfer fees and other club costs.

All in all, there are lots of opportunities to explore Maths Outside the Classroom through a trip to the local football team at whatever level they play. Indeed it might be easier if the team is a lower league or even non-league, local football.





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