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Teaching children how to use authentic data with football statistics

Editor’s note: This video was filmed at a Maths — No Problem! professional development course.

Connecting maths with real-life situations helps learners see that maths can be useful outside the classroom. Here’s how you can teach children to use authentic data with football statistics.

One of the most important things about authentic data is that it’s better if it’s timely data. Taking ‘Euro 2016’ football statistics for example, there’s a lot of data involved.

If children want to understand football stats and numbers better, it is important that they are good at mathematics, otherwise the data may not make any sense to them.

Questions to ask when looking at a set of data

There’s a set of data here: Portugal 2 – 0 Wales.

For the lower primary students, we can ask a lot of questions around this. So making sense of the data, what sort of questions could we ask?

Who won?
How do you know?
By how many goals?
At what time did events occur?

How to relate football statements to fractions

“At five nines into the match, the first goal happened.”

Somebody may give you something like that. And indeed, then you can relate it to fractions.

Three yellow cards here, two yellow cards here.

What is the proportion?
What is the ratio?

So there are many ways you can talk about the mathematics within simple data like this.

That’s very authentic, and all the football fans will be paying attention. You can see so much mathematics in a match. Using this sort of data will really heighten the engagement level.

We cannot always use the set of data that appeal to us, so it is important to use a set of data that will appeal to the children, that is more authentic for the children, and timely, in a timely manner. A lot of children would understand this data, you don’t have to spend time explaining because it is in their realm of experience, then we can launch straight away into the mathematics of it.