Math and football
A Reporting Piece Covering One of the Four Categories of Hard News: EDUCATION
Where Combining Those Two Together Can Not Only Help Students in Academic Performance, but It will also Get Football Fans (Young and Old) Take an Interest in a Hard Education Subject.
Brian “Scoop” Nemeth
GETTING FANS TO TAKE AN INTEREST IN MATH
There are football fans that are so pre-occupied with the game, and they do not take an interest in something useful like math. Why is that the way it is? Sheila Bieker is a PPCC Career planning advisor, whose office is across from the math lab at the Downtown Studio campus.
They are afraid of math, because it is overwhelming and hard to understand. Fans are so caught up in the action, they find it hard to figure out what is a numerator and denominator, and they find it hard to figure out equations. If fans use math, they can evaluate the length of the football field, and how far the player needs to throw the ball in order for the touchdown.
Poor academic performance from students is one contributing factor in colleges and public school failing, and each student’s lack of interest in a school subject (math included) is the cause of academic performance; students on the football team is so interested in the game, but not interested in schoolwork. Why? “Fans and players are so involved in the winning score, they cannot think of anything else, not even math homework that is due whenever,” adds Bieker.
Combine math with football, and not only will fans and students get good grades, but they will learn to appreciate math. How this combination can work is figuring out the measurement of the football field, from breaking the yardage down to feet, to figuring out how there could be 120 yards wide and 53 1/3 yards long. When football fans young and old take one math lesson (measurements and word problems), and tie that knowledge to football action, how is that gonna change the way fans think about math? Mike Francis – PPCC Math instructor – explains one way that change is possible. “All the knowledge fans can get from the sport should include math,” says Francis. “It changes fans perception of math,” Bieker explains another way, “because it explains how many steps the player should take in order to get to the end zone for a touchdown.”
HOW WE MEASURE WIDTH
An American football field is 120 yards long by 53 1/3 yards wide. If the field is 120 yards wide, and the gridiron is 90 yards wide, how do we measure the yardage width of the end zones? 120 yards wide, minus 90 yards, equals 30 yards. But we’re not done yet. Take 30 yards, divide that by two end zones, and that equals 15 yards wide.
Now that we know the football field is 120 yards wide, let’s measure the feet in the field’s width. We all know 3 feet equal one yard. 3 feet (equaling one yard), times ten yards, equals 30 feet. Try taking 3 feet, and multiply that by 90 yards (not counting end zone); you get 270 feet. In the end zone – 3 feet times 15 yards (in both end zones) equals 45 feet.
HOW WE MEASURE LENGTH
What about the length of the field? The field is 53 1/3 yards wide. Let’s break it down to a decimal. 53 times 3 (denominator) is 159. 159 plus 1 (numerator) is 160. 160/3 would equal 53.333333; round that to the nearest tenth, and it would equal 53.3 yards wide.