I work with high-risk boys as a youth counselor and assisting them with their math homework assignments can be very stressful at times, especially when they are not interested in learning math. I hear the boys state often that learning math for them is stressful because math is boring. When I am helping the boys with their math homework, the first thing that I do is figure out how to hold their attention by finding out what are the things that they enjoy most. I know that if I can get them to identify with the things that they enjoy most, then I can get them interested in learning. If I can get them interested in learning, then helping them with their math homework will not be so stressful. For instance, I know that the boys really enjoy football so I use football to show them how to understand the principles of math and how to make learning math fun.
Football Rules Made Simple
1. There is an offensive and defensive team
2. The objective of the football game is to score in the end zone and the team with the highest score at the end of the game wins
3. The middle of the football field is the 50-yard line. The numbers on the football field increase and decrease in increments of 10
How to Use Football to teach Math
1. Let the students name their teams based on their favorite college or NFL team
2. Draw a replica of a football field on the chalk board
3. Use colored chalk to write out the plays "math problems" and to show the movement of the football on the field
Math Problem #1
How to Teach Subtraction: 50-20=?
"Team A" has possession of the football on the 50-yard line. The Play: the Quarterback throws the football down the field. The Receiver runs down the field and catches the football at the 20- yard line. If "Team A " started at the 50-yard line and now has possession of the football at the 20-yard line how many yards did the Receiver on "Team A " gain on the play? Answer 30-yards.
Math Problem #2
How to Teach Addition 10 +30 =?
"Team B" is at the 10-yard line. The Play: The Quarterback is going to pass the football to the Running back and see how many yards he can gain on the play. The play is successful! The Running back on "Team B" gained 30-yards. If the play started at the 10 yard-line and the Running Back gained 30 yards, Where is the ball positioned at the start of the new play? Answer- 40 yard line.
I find that children who are challenged socially learn better when you can hold their attention. If you implement football or any other sport in the learning process, it helps make teaching math less stressful because it makes learning interesting. Football also allows you to involve the children in the learning process and that will help them to remember the mathematical concepts.