Tuesday, 1 April 2014

MLB Opening Day & Maths

March 31 in the US is celebrated by baseball fans everywhere, its Opening Day for Major League Baseball and I love baseball! I'm not american, have never played baseball but I love the game and one day will be heading off to as many games as I can afford.

Anyone with a limited knowledge of American sports will understand that there is an obsession with statistics in all of the professional leagues and amongst other aspects, this makes US sport an amazing tool for maths lessons. This post is to share some of my resources, successes and some failures (professional & otherwise).

I have a very sporty maths class and I'm a sports nut, so it makes sense that I utilise this to engage the children. Yesterday, I let my passion for baseball spill into class a little in order that I build the anticipation of today. I explained that tomorrow was Opening Day and that it would be baseball, baseball, baseball.

Teaching Tools Planned
Dice baseball: There are many different versions available online but I use the following dice baseball game rules. After trying it last year, it is simple for even non-baseball players to pick up. I introduced a scoresheet also but in the end concentrated on teaching it to a couple of the more-able children.
Success: Engaging, quick addition practice, allows for high turnover of games, great for fraction work as children build toward 3 strikes = out, 3 outs = innings and 4 bases = run.
Failure: Should have scaffolded the scoresheet but was too excited.

Range of computer games: These are too practice maths skills and continue to engage the children with baseball themed maths. I found two free game sites with the appropriate type of games: Math-Play which had good decimal & fraction work; and Maths Playground which had some good maintenance work and word problems.
Success: Independent, enjoyable and ability to tailor to different needs using both sites.
Failure: n/a

GloSS cards: I prepared a set of Gloss assessment cards that were baseball themed, I did not prepare a full set of the 22 cards that we now use but just for the Stage 4 - 6 area.
Success: Some kids had a look at the cards and found them engaging. I will have these available at any stage to use for maintenance, revision or with kids struggling to engage in maths.
Failure: I spent way too long preparing these (don't ask), with a small number of kids using them this was a poor investment of time.

Baseball gloss cards from reidhns1

Baseball Stats Card: I also had decided created a template for a baseball card so that the kids could investigate some of players in their allocated teams. Any stats based research was considered valuable and this would get the kids further engaged in the whole theme. We didn't even get these out.
Success: Template made, little time invested, can be used at another time.
Failure: Inability to recognise that I had already over-overprepared!

Like all passionate teachers I arrived at school this morning excited about the day & eagerly anticipated the coming maths lesson. I even had a whole heap of popcorn to add to the Baseball Theme (I plan to take some hotdogs along at another stage - nothing says Baseball like hotdogs). In my excitement I decided that enough wasn't enough and quickly downloaded some photos to use with protractors to study angles. Surely, we would have enough work to engage & immerse everyone in baseball mathematics?

Over-planned = Yes!
Worklifebalance = So far out of kilter that my wife joked as I got off the computer last night "Oh look my husband has just got home!"
Successful lesson = Baseball - yes; teacher excitement - yes; engagement - yes; maths - yet to be decided but kids were excited and starting to see potential.

I'm planning to teach the scorecard tomorrow, that way we can investigate batting averages. I'll use the GloSS cards as an activity for some independent work as I'm not wasting them. But I've also thought of a better way to use the Baseball Stats card...

Time to go, as I'm still trying to be allowed out on the golf course!

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