Yesterday was the BIG GAME for many folks who see the Super Bowl as a reason to get together with friends to cheer on their favorite team. For my hubbie and me, it meant we practically had the whole golf course to ourselves since everyone else was watching the big game. Don't get me wrong, I am a sports fan, but our teams (the 49ers and the Dolphins) weren't in it, so I was content to check the score on my iPhone every so often until we got home in time for the halftime show with Katy Perry. (I enjoyed it but not as much as last year's with Hawaii's own Bruno Mars.)
Football is just a game, but it's also a great way to teach students lessons. Our physical education teacher, Mr. B, invited students and staff at our school to enter a Super Bowl contest. He received lots of entries! I asked him about it on Friday, and he shared that in past years, he got some pretty wild responses from students such as scores that were more reflective of a baseball or basketball game than a football game, a personal reason for picking a team based on heart rather than head ("I like their colors" or "I like their name better"), and evidence that the student didn't really know what the Super Bowl was.
We teach our students to predict from the time they are in kindergarten. Predict what will happen next in the story and explain your reason; predict what the weather might be like tomorrow; predict what will happen when we do a science experiment with the class, predict the results of the Presidential election, etc. Somehow, though, students weren't making the connection to a real life event like the Super Bowl.
This year, Mr. B made it a point to discuss the contest with the students. He asked them what a prediction is - an educated guess based on data. He also had a few tiebreaker questions that required students to do a little researching to find the answer. Mr. B shared that the responses this year indicated that students actually checked football scores and thought carefully before submitting their entry. Many of the responses were very specific when answering the tiebreaker questions: the game was being played at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona; Tom Brady played football at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan, etc. Those questions about which colleges Tom Brady and Russell Wilson attended? It's never too early to emphasize a college-going mindset with our students! The final question asked what does Super Bowl XLIX stand for? Is this similar to coding? Were the Romans the original coders? I realize it's not part of the Common Core State Standards, but sharing the Roman Numeral system would be a great lesson that could engage students in thinking logically.
Mr. B will be announcing the winners of the contest today - one for students and one for staff. I chose the New England Patriots, but the score I wrote down was 20-17. Someone else will probably be closer to the final score, 28-24. And if teachers wanted to, they could extend the lesson and ask students if there are other ways to get a score of 28-24 and see what students come up with (there are numerous ways).
I love sports, not just for the competition, but for the many opportunities we can incorporate learning in all content areas!