Football stadium at night, with fireworks

Putting Math in the Game

How can you get ready for the big game this weekend? Jessica Solano, 2017 Teacher of the Year, shares football-themed math activities to try during the Super Bowl this Sunday.

Whether it’s for the on-field gridiron or the anxiously awaited commercials, more than 100 million people are expected to tune in to Super Bowl LI this Sunday. If your family is like mine, adults and children will gather around the television as the Atlanta Falcons take on the New England Patriots at the NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas.

The fact that the Super Bowl uses Roman numerals lends itself to a learning moment, and I have included some football-themed #MathMoments below from my experience at the National Championship to help you warm up your children’s or your students’ math minds before kickoff.

The model National Championship trophies pictured above are made entirely out of Legos (yes, the small Lego bricks that no mom wants to step on in the middle of the night!). After watching how these trophies were assembled, you can challenge your child to answer some of these questions:

  • How many small Lego bricks do you think it took to make the smaller trophy? What about the larger trophy?
  • How many of the smaller trophies would make up the larger trophy? How can you express your answer as a fraction?

Things teachers dream about: 100% student engagement, endless school supplies, and Donors Choose gift cards. You could tell which attendees were teachers based on the excitement on their faces when they were handed one of these tiny treasures. One teacher was able to snag this box filled with $25 Donors Choose gift cards. Cue the #MathMoments:

  • How much free money did this teacher just get for her classroom? How would this change if ½ of the cards were worth $50?
  • What are some items that she would be able to purchase with all of these gift cards? Create a list of some items your teacher would love to have in his/her classroom. How did you decide which items to include on the list?
  • Sometimes Donors Choose will match the amount of funds you use on a purchase, dollar for dollar. If this was the case for this teacher, how much money can she actually spend?
  • Let’s say that she was able to snag 35% of all of the Donors Choose gift cards that were distributed that night. How much money was donated by Donors Choose in the form of gift cards that night?

My husband came up with this one, making my teacher-wife heart skip a beat or two!

  • Alabama’s band is nicknamed “The Million Dollar Band.” If this was truly the case, how much would each member of the band be worth?
  • If they are only referring to the instruments, how much would each instrument be worth?

Football stadium at night, with fireworks

Your turn! What #MathMoments can you see in this picture of Clemson winning the National Championship, literally at the very last second of the game?


You can visit 2017 Florida Teacher of the Year Jessica Solano's blog here.