Fun with Geometry and sports!

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Project: Pre-Game Preparation!

Here’s a great idea that I actually put to use at Hunter College High School in New York City.

Let me preface by saying this will take a bit of coordination with colleagues, but the payoff is well worth the effort.

This is a fun geometry based lesson. The increase in scale during the project helps solidify spatial awareness and measurement estimation. Throughout the project students will learn to use alternative tools to complete their assignments, i.e… string in place of a compass.

Step 1: Determine the students’ sporting interest. Acquire Field Dimensions of whichever sport the students show an interest in. Here is a link to current high school court and field dimensions. Hint: You may want to take a look at the available list beforehand to offer less common sports as ideas.

Step 2: Once you have the dimensions you can “play” with the actual measurements by substituting formulas or word problems. For example: (In Baseball) The distance from home plate to the backstop is r whereas; Area of the circle is =188.82ft

Step 3: Have the class draft their field or court of choice on graph paper to scale. Materials Needed: Graphing paper, ruler, compass and protractor, with the available dimensions at hand.

Step 4: Now, have the class break into teams and draft their fields or courts to scale on large pieces of bulletin board paper. Students should be able to accomplish this using only one measured point of reference, provided by the teacher, such as the base line in soccer. Materials Needed: Bulletin board paper, ruler (tape measure), string, with the available dimensions at hand.

Step 5: Now it is time to put their work to the test. Contact the athletic director or department chair of the Physical Education department. Let them know that you would like your class to paint the lines on the fields. Chances are they will be thrilled to work with your class. Once you have the okay you will probably need to speak with the individual coaches of each sport. Don’t forget about the gym! P.E. departments often tape temporary lines on the court for classes in badminton, team handball and other non-mainstream sports. Hint: You may want to contact these teachers and coaches early on in order to coordinate with upcoming seasonal sports.

Materials Needed: Line paint, chalk or tape (the coach should be willing to let you use their supply), ball of string, long tape measure (most coaches will have one of these as well). Hint: Have the students where work clothes and shoes for this project. It can be a messy job.

Step 6: Let the class play a quick game when they finish.

Home school variation: Educators can contact the local parks department or community athletic leagues.