Who will come out victorious in this year’s Super Bowl? Only time will tell. This is widely viewed and on in most households, and it’s the perfect opportunity to incorporate real-life experiences into the classroom. Even students that are not very interested in sports will find a reason to watch the Super Bowl. It may be for the commercials, the halftime show, or maybe even the snacks, but rest assured, most of your students will have knowledge of this game. Throw on your favorite jersey and get ready to make the Super Bowl fun for your students!
Kick a Field Goal
The score is 27-27 and there are just four seconds left in the game! You are the kicker and you have a chance to win the Super Bowl for your team! Will you make the kick and bring the title back to your city? This is just the activity to try!
This incorporates an old favorite, paper footballs, and a field created by the students. First, discuss the dimensions of a football field. How many yards long is it? What are the dimensions of the endzone? What about the field goals? Research all of this information and then start to create your own field (to scale). Now you will need to create your paper football. If you need to brush up, watch the short YouTube video linked in order to fold your football.
There are many variations you can incorporate into this activity. You can make it a game with students working in small groups (post-Covid, of course). For younger students, you can create the field and discuss how you did so with them to save time. For older students, you can make it more challenging by having students create a catapult to kick the field goal.
National Science Foundation (NSF) Videos
Have five minutes to spare? These quick and informative videos from the National Science Foundation use football to teach about topics ranging from vectors and geometric shapes to nutrition. Depending on the grade level that is watching the videos, you can give different sorts of assignments along with the videos. This is a great activity to use for distance learning and in breakout rooms. You can have students watch all or just some of the videos, and answer questions, present learnings, or give extension activities to deepen learning.
A classic Super Bowl activity is the box pool! You know, the boxes with the AFC on one side and the NFC on the other, with all the digits 0-9 chosen at random to be placed at the ends of the columns and rows. Many organizations use these types of pools as fundraisers, but you can use this to help teach math!
Once the teams for the Super Bowl have been determined, you can fill out the names on the AFC and NFC side. There are 100 boxes, so you will need to split these up amongst the class. Split the boxes among the class, but NOT equally. Students will receive varied amounts of boxes in the pool. After the students choose their boxes, digits for rows and columns will be chosen (you can do this on the computer or use the good-old pull the digit out of a hat method).
Depending on the grade level, you can have students analyze the chances of winning in a variety of ways. For younger grades, it can be 1 out of 100. For middle grades, you can use simplified terms, such as 1 out of 25, or percentages. For older students in high school, you can have them use more in-depth statistical methods. Give each student a copy of the box pool to keep with them while they watch the Super Bowl. For students who have boxes that win, you can give them different prizes! It makes it fun for the students to watch the game!
Where in the world is the Super Bowl? In this activity, using Google Earth you can create place marks for the cities that have NFL teams and links to the stadiums/websites. You can modify this to reach so many different grade levels. For the younger grade levels, you can do most of this as a class or have different students complete different cities. For older grade levels, you can have more specific expectations. Students can find distances between cities, stadiums, and even find differences in cost of tickets, cost of living, and average income!
Take a Trip to the Super Bowl
I hope you have been saving your pennies! We are going to Tampa Bay! Have students figure out how much it would cost for two people to take a trip to the Super Bowl! You will need tickets, airfare, hotel, and spending money. There are links to websites that will help students price out the trip, but they can search for the best prices they can find! This is helpful with real world skills needed to budget and shop around for good prices. If you want to make this more challenging for older students, you can give a price limit on what can be spent and see if the students can do it!
The Super Bowl is exciting for many reasons including a great game for sports fans and a usually conversation-worthy halftime show, but it also presents us with many teachable moments! Times have changed tremendously over the past year, so it is important for teachers to continue to try to create lessons that help students love school again. Students everywhere of all ages are living through unprecedented times, and we need to help engage them to the best of our abilities and continue to help them learn and achieve academic, as well as social-emotional success.
As Bruce Lee said, “Life itself is your teacher, and you are in a constant state of learning.” Taking life and working it into your classroom is an important way to help your students be the best learners they can be while showing and not telling them that school is important to their actual lives. Seize the moment, and while you’re at it, use it to teach!