World Cup Connections

July 3, 2010 at 4:21 pm 2 comments

One of the greatest things about being a teacher is that you can actually watch World Cup games!

I sat next to a teacher when I saw the US play Algeria. She teaches high school English in a very different part of town than I do, but I discovered our jobs have a lot of similarities. 

For one thing, she has to get creative when it comes to helping students behave and learn.

She told me about one of her students who constantly talked during class. He didn’t mean to talk, of course; he just didn’t realize exactly what he was doing. Luckily he loved to play soccer, and she helped him fix the talking problem by bringing this love into the classroom. She simply cut out yellow and red squares to look like the yellow and red cards used by a referee. Just like on the soccer field, the yellow card was a warning, and the red card meant a time out.

This incredibly personal form of discipline was not only a way of building her relationship with the student; it was a warning system that the student really understood. That simple. Problem solved.

Of  course, there are thousands of ways to bring sports into the classroom (especially the math classroom) if that is what motivates you and your students. The World Cup is a great way to learn about statistics while making connections to the Social Studies curriculum to learn about other countries. A math teacher can write a thousand different soccer problems. I love this applet exploration on the NCTM website:

If you’re really excited by math and sports then there is a whole curriculum using fantasy sports in the classroom. It is a lot more sports than I could personally handle, but there are a million ways to teach math (and behavior) so that it will resonate with you and your students. I think I need one of those vuvuzelas.


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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Kristy  |  July 3, 2010 at 4:51 pm

    Jen Ramacciotti, who taught 6th grade math last year at AIM, did a whole learning team using Major League Baseball to learn about statistics and averages … the unit lasted a couple of months and culminated with a field trip to go watch a Nationals-Reds game at Nationals Park. Each child in her learning team was assigned a different MLB team to follow so each day was a celebration of wins and losses, etc.

  • 2. Shandra  |  July 4, 2010 at 9:04 pm

    The World Cup as well as other sports are an excellent way to bring different cultures together on a common theme as well. I was working with a 7th grade class and the students were sitting in their different groups. When the first game was broadcast, we were able to begin a dialogue were all participated as well as make use of the frequency tables, in their homework problems and show how they are used in everyday life. In this example to track the wins and losses of selected teams.


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