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Football maths activities and ideas for the World Cup

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

The World Cup is almost here and it is a great way to teach maths in context. The wealth of facts and figures create fantastic opportunities for problem solving starting points. For example, player profiles bring in measures and averages and stadium seats are good for rounding, ordering and comparing large numbers. It all starts on 12th June and lasts for a month. Can't wait!

The most important starting place is gathering information.

Take a look at the
FIFA website, it has lots of data here that could be useful for calculation problems and data handling. The information is not presented in a very friendly way, so use this yourself rather than directing children to this site. 

The Stadium Guide is not an official site but written by a few enthusiasts, it has a page on all 12 venues in Brazil, giving the number of seats in each stadium. It is well presented and children would find the information easily.

The FA website has information on
England players and it is well presented so children can find the facts for themselves. It includes the height, weight, age, number of caps and how many times they have won, drawn or lost with the England team.


The England Players Profile

Netherlands v Croatia, 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Vuvuzela in the foreground!
Player profile
Look at the England players profiles and ask your class to find out about :

...the heights of all 7 defenders. Write them in order? Who is the tallest? Draw a graph to compare the heights.

... the number of  times has each player played for England (number of caps). Who has played for England the most times?  How many caps do Rooney and Gerrard have  in total between them?

...the age of all 9 midfielders. Who is the youngest? Who is the oldest? Which two players are the same age?
What is the mode, median and mean average age of the midfielders?

Teaching Tip
Always check the calculation needed for finding the mean average before you set the task. Make sure the answer gives a whole number (or for upper KS2 simple fraction or decimal) answer. I tried heights and weights for different groups of players and the measurements were not ideal to use for averages.

The Stadium statistics

Take a look at the number of seats at each of the 12 stadiums in Brazil.

• Round the number of seats to the nearest 1000 for all 12 stadiums.
• Now write the rounded seat numbers in order starting with the largest.
• Draw a graph to show the rounded number of seats in each stadium.
              Choose which type of graph? Choose the scale of the graph. 

The largest stadium is Maracana with 71159 seat.      
The smallest is Arena Da Baixada with 37634 seats

• How many more spectators can Maracana hold than Arena Da Baixada?

Find out where England are playing each match.

• Find the distance they will travel between each venue.
• What is the furthest they will travel between any two matches?
• What is the total distance they will travel?

 Wembley, one of my own photos.

How a topic grows!

I tend to avoid using some awkward plurals when writing text for young children. So you will see I used 12 venues for the plural and each stadium for the singular. 

However, according to the Oxford Dictionaries, 12 stadiums is as acceptable as 12 stadia.

Then there was something even more interesting in the dictionaries definition

"(plural stadia) An ancient Roman or Greek measure of length, about 185 metres (originally the length of a stadium)."

Get the children to measure out a track 185m long using a trundle wheel. How long does it take to run 1 stadia? 

Another one to add to your Roman resources or measures collections!

Related older articles:

Maths football game - for Euro 2012                     Premier League final day - rich with data and stats

There's a football game using logic and                Using graphs from newspapers in the classroom.
reasoning you can download and use.

Set of 6 Football Maths Games for KS2 available to order.
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