There’s a lot of STEM in Sports: speed, distance, uniform design and functionality-the list goes on. This fall, get your children thinking about football, using their STEM lens, and growing their STEM mindsets all at the same time!
Activity 1: It’s Not Just About the Game
Check out this interactive post about STEM and Football with your children! Take the quiz with them and watch the videos, discussing key vocabulary terms and asking them to record any questions or ideas that pop up.
Next, check out this video on walkSTEM® Academy, featuring Dr. Glen Whitney, as he asks viewers to consider the capacity of a university football stadium. What’s your favorite football or sports team? Where is their stadium located, and how might you determine how many spectators it could hold? How does it compare to other, similar stadiums?
Finally, predictions and probability are a huge component of math! Practice your data analysis skills with your kids as you go through these odds. Will your team win, you think?
Activity 2: Millions and Millions of Football Screens
Expand your STEM mindset with some REALLY BIG numbers. According to data analytics firm Nielsen, NFL Sunday Night Football was the most watched regularly scheduled TV program in 2017.
On average, approximately 18.6 million people tuned in to watch NFL Football on Sundays in 2017. 112 million people watched the Super Bowl. According to US Census Data, there are approximately 325.7 million Americans in the United States. Using these figures, work with your children to help them determine the percentage of Americans who watched football on Sundays (~5.7%) and who watched the Super Bowl (~34%). Deepen their understanding with these guiding questions/activities:
- Now that we’ve determined the approximate percentage of football viewers, how could we graph or depict the percentage of Sunday NFL viewers to non-viewers?
- What technology do you think the company Nielsen uses to collect TV viewership data? If you were to design a data collection system for TV, how would it work? How do you think Nielsen uses the data? How do other companies use it?
Activity 3: Run the Distance with Sports Math!
STEM in Sports: A football field is 120 yards long. How does that compare to a block in your neighborhood? Find an area (sidewalk block, a field at a park, an indoor mall space) where your children can measure approximately 120 yards. Ask:
- What tools might you use to measure the distance? (Hint: These don’t have to be traditional measurement tools- encourage your children to think outside-the-box.)
- Have them walk, run, roll, skip, hop or jump the 120 yards as many times as possible. How long did it take for you to move across the 120 yards? If the average football game is about three hours long, how often do you think a professional football player runs 120 yards (estimate)?
- Encourage your children to use this calorie calculator to determine approximately how many calories they burned during their yard activity.
Activity 4: Pizza Pizza STEM!
People eat A LOT of pizza (and chicken wings plus other take out food!) on Super Bowl Sunday. Read this article and discuss with your children. Get them thinking with these guiding questions/activities:
- Some delivery apps like Uber Eats institute “surge” pricing during big events or holidays based on basic supply and demand concepts. Explain to your children that on Super Bowl Sunday, it might cost more to have food delivered using a delivery app. Why do they think it might cost more? What times during the game do they think the pricing would be the highest? Why? What other factors may impact surge pricing changes? When might be the best (or cheapest) time during Super Bowl Sunday to order food?
- Print a map of your city or town by zip code, then choose a chain pizza delivery company that has a number of stores in your area. Look up the different delivery zones on their website, typically sorted by zip code, then ask your children to shade the zones on the map. What patterns do they notice? How many square miles does each zone cover? How quickly could a delivery driver travel from one zone to another?
Activity 5: Turf Wars
According to this article, there’s an ongoing debate about turf versus natural grass in football stadiums. Encourage your children to explore this real-world scenario by researching the differences between turf and grass. Which one costs more overall? Why? What are the pros and cons of each type of ground cover?
Tag us and share what your kids created/measured/ STEM-ified this football season using #talkSTEM #football #STEMinSports
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