Football and Maths – A Great Combination!

Have you ever wondered how maths and football are related?

My favourite aspect of maths is its problem-solving ability. I get tremendous satisfaction from using maths to obtain useful, accurate information and from communicating it precisely.

For example, if we think about a football game, it is full of mathematics. Students can learn about Geometry and Measure from the features of the football pitch which include important shapes such as circles, rectangles, segments etc. We can engage the students’ interest to teach Perimeter, Area and Angles. This can be extended to Ratio, and we can introduce Algebra through variables such as pitch width and length.

Consideration of the force with which the football is kicked can address topics such as Rates of Change when calculating speed of the ball. Quadratic Equations can be taught by modelling the trajectory of the ball. We can teach Probability when engaging the students in the dreaded penalty shoot-out to decide the winning team. We can introduce Statistics by considering a goalkeeper’s save rate (or indeed a striker’s score rate). This can be extended to more detailed Statistics of a team, taking into account their previous performance history.

Another real-life example which may interest students is the purchase of a smartphone. Students can learn about Arithmetic Series through analysing how long a teenager would need to save their weekly pocket money (or small income from a weekend job, for example) to afford a device. Discussing the pros and cons of Pay As You Go or Monthly Tariffs and competing offers of various devices on the market would enable the teaching of Fractions, Ratios and Percentages.