What can your students learn from soccer? The World Cup is a major sports event that provides a great opportunity to teach children about history and culture--plus a great sport. These classroom activities focus on geography, language arts, math, art and physical fitness.
The FIFA World Cup is a popular soccer event that takes place every four years in countries all over the world. Men and women compete during alternating years. Thus, every two years there is a World Cup for either men or women. Kids will enjoy participating in these interactive activities to celebrate the international soccer event.
Blowing in the Wind: Flag Art
Give each student a 4-by-6 index card and a Popsicle stick. Students will be making the country flag of a team participating in the current world cup. Put up examples of each flag or print out flag coloring pages from ColoringCastle.com so students have plenty of examples. Provide plenty of markers and colored pencils for students. On the back of the flag students can write down the population, capital and an interesting soccer-related fact. When students are done with their flags, they should glue them to the Popsicle sticks. Flags can be taped to the sides of desks for the duration of your classroom World Cup unit or celebration.
Where in the World Is Your Favorite Soccer Team: Map Activity
Provide a world map courtesy of FreeWorldMaps.com. Give a sheet of foil stars to each student. Students will find the location of their favorite team and place a gold star on top of it. Next to the star, they will label the country. Then, have students find five other countries and choose a different colored star to label.
Read All About It: Player Poster
Students need to pick their favorite soccer player at MapsofWorld.com. Provide students with information about many different players. Then, give them a piece of construction paper to make a player poster. Make sure to provide each child with a ruler and colored pencils, crayons or markers. In the top center of the poster should be the name of the player, the team they play for and their number. In the right hand corner, kids can make a graphic. It could be of the player's jersey, the team's flag or a picture of the player. Finally, kids should write a short paragraph about why this is their favorite player.
What's Your Team's Average: Soccer Stat Word Problems
Students will have fun solving these fun word problems. After they are done, they can create their own World Cup problems.
- Team U.S.A has to score four more goals before they have as many goals as Germany. If Germany has three less goals than Norway and Norway has 55 goals this year, how many goals does team U.S.A have at the moment?
55 - 3 = 52 goals for Germany 52-4= 48 The U.S.A has 48 goals
- Player A has played 320 minutes on the field. Player B has played 500 minutes. What is the average playing time of these two players?
320 + 500 = 820/2 = 410 minutes average playing time
- Have your students find out how many World Cup games their five favorite players have played in, and find the mean number and the median number of games.
Soccer Fever: Writing Prompts
Spark imaginations with these fun writing prompts related to World Cup soccer:
- Write ten interview questions you would ask your favorite World Cup player.
- Imagine it is the World Cup final and you are playing. Describe one exciting moment from the game. Make the reader feel like he or she is at the game. Describe how you are feeling, the sights around you and the sounds of things like fans cheering. Does anyone score? Does your team win?
- Pretend you are watching the World Cup. Your doorbell rings and you've won tickets to the final. Write a story about your experience.
- Write a news article about the most exciting soccer game featuring your favorite team. Make sure to include dates, statistics and all the important details.
Shoot Out: Penalty Kick Game
Based on a class vote, pick four to six teams that are playing in the World Cup. To form groups, have students draw teams out of a hat or bag. Tell students they can wear their team colors to school the next day.
Make a small goal out of two cones. The cones should be about two feet apart, so there is no need for a goalie. Put a piece of tape on the ground to mark the penalty kick spot. On the whistle, the player gets one shot to make it between the cones. One person from each team should go, until every player has a gotten a chance to take a shot.
Finally, do an awards assembly with medals and give popsicles for a fun treat for all.
After participating in these classroom activities for World Cup soccer, fans of the game will enjoy it even more and the rest of the class will develop an appreciation of the sport.
This article was written from the author's personal classroom experience.