Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Incorporating Math With Fantasy Football

Fantasy Football is an extremely popular and fun past-time for football enthusiasts. Especially for those, like me, who were never that great at the sport. This post gives you some ideas of ways to connect it with math, however, this is not something you can throw together in the last moment. It will take proper planning and time, but, in the end, your student may be having the most fun they've ever had in a math class.

The game could be built on any theme you would like, combining like terms, simplifying fractions, solving equations, however, the theme of this particular post is factoring.

The goal of the project is to hold a live draft with your classroom in which the students who complete the hardest math problems will receive the tops pics in the draft. I will provide some advice for how to implement the program toward the end of the post, although, I would love any feedback.

Note 1: It helps to understand the metrics of fantasy football. If you have never experienced fantasy football but are interested in using this exercise, it may be helpful to review the game. Here is a link How to Play Fantasy Football. The classroom activity may also run much smother if you first practice holding a draft with friends or relatives.

Note 2: It will be much easier if you split the class up in 2 teams or, at most, 4 teams. Any more teams than this would pose difficulty in terms of management and time. As it stands, the typical fantasy football team requires 15 players (including 9 starters and 6 backups). Thus, a classroom of 24 students divided into groups of 4 would yield 6 teams. 6 Teams of 15 players each would require 90 Problems. This would be a hard feat to accomplish within a one hour class. I will give strategies for ways around this below. However, 24 students divided into two teams would only yield 30 problems.

Items You Need:
Multiple Large Posters
Cut-outs or printouts of the top fantasy football players
A draft sheet for each student
Postcards with problems on the front and answers on the back

How to set it up:
(Honestly I can think of multiple ways to do this of which I will choose the easiest one and, in time add others)

1. Print off the top 50 fantasy football players (You can find them here)
2. Proceed to divide the top 50 players into 4 parts (note that two of the parts will need to have 13 players)
3. Since there will be no kickers or defenses in the top 50 players (as these picks come later in the draft, proceed to subtract four of the players and add two defenses and two kickers).
4. You should now have 50 players divided into four uneven groups (2 groups of 12, 2 groups of 13)
5. Next, create (or borrow) 50 problems that you would like your students to be able to solve.
6. Place the hardest 12 problems in the group with the top 12 picks, the next 12 hardest problems in the second group and so forth.
7. Using multiple poster boards, create positions for each of the 50 players the students will be drafting from (this could simply be blank squares on a poster board with the players name and position beside it)
8. Optional, cut out or print out pictures of each player to paste on the poster board by their name and position.
9. Using index cards write each of the 50 math problems on the front with their answers on the back.
10. Either keep the postcards in four stacks or tape each postcard in the correct position under the players name

How To Play:
1. If using two teams, have students from each team huddle up in a circle to figure our who they wish to draft first.
2. Flip a coin for who drafts first
3. Have students pick the player they wish to draft. Once chosen, have them select two teammates from their group to go to the back of the room and solve the problem.
4. Note: I'm not sure if I would allow the students to see the problems prior to picking the player. What you might run into is your smarter students will be solving problems while the other team is drafting. Even still, your team might solve it correctly, but the other team may pick that particular player and thus they did a lot of work for nothing. What's your thoughts?
5. Using some type of stop watch or countdown, set the time to 2-4 mins based on the toughness of the problem. While your students are on the clock, have the opposite team who is waiting try to figure out the problem as well.
6. If the student answer it correctly within the allotted time, they get the pick. If they do not, than proceed to ask the opposite team what the correct answer is.
7. If they answer correctly: they may keep the player (if they so choose to) as well as pick any other player on the board for the opposite team.
8. If they answer incorrectly, nothing happens and they go back to the drafting.

Note one part 7: Notice that if the drafting team answers incorrectly, the other team has a choice: They may either answer the question correctly to get the player as well as choose a player for the opposing team OR they may pass on the question and proceed to ask for a new question todraft the player they wish.

1. Students will continue the draft until all positions on their roster is full.
2. Here are the 15 players and their positions they must choose from.

Draft Sheet Each For Each Student

Starters
QB ________________________
RB ________________________
RB ________________________
WR ________________________
WR ________________________
WR ________________________
TE ________________________
K ________________________
Defense ________________________

Bench
Any position ________________________
Any position ________________________
Any position ________________________
Any position ________________________
Any position ________________________
Any position ________________________

**I'm anxious to hear any feedback you guys have on this**

johnpeterjohn said...

fantasy football is good:)
cool math

Tanjanika Foster said...

Can this lesson be sent to me ?