Friday, November 1, 2013

Making Math Real with the Dallas Cowboys

Creating engaging lessons in the classroom is an issue. Trying to produce activity based instruction that lends itself to real world scenarios has always been a challenge. Especially, when kids are quick to try and trip up their teachers by asking, " Now really, when am I ever going to use this?!" Every content area lends itself to real world applications. As a former history teacher, kids were consistently wanting to know what the information had to do with their lives. Now, this is one of the worst things you can say to a history teacher...an hour later you will have wished you had only thought the question. After all, the reason we make the same mistakes throughout history is because we don't know our past. But I digress and soon an hour will pass and you will have rolled your eyes many times...so....

Over the years, I have run into some incredible lessons that connected the abstract world to the real. One of my favorites was an activity where the teacher created a scenario of a parking lot that was located on a piece of property in the middle of a city. The land was irregularly shaped. The owner was trying to figure out how best to size and stripe the parking spaces so as to get the most use from his land, thus increasing profit. The students were asked to create the word problem and generate the math that would help the land owner. Cool! Real world application of math.

Check out the link below to find an article about the Coach of the NFL Dallas Cowboys trying to solve their team performance problems by getting the team to see the field of play through a math lens. Wow! (As a note, I'm an Atlanta Falcon fan, so I'm hoping that it doesn't work.) Talk about making math real! (Thanks, Angie for sharing this link and providing the inspiration for the post.)
http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424127887324085304579008754283995522