When a now international event such as the American Football Super Bowl is taking place, teachers can use it to their advantage. Whilst there might not be that much natural enthusiasm for the event outside of the USA, it can still be used as a focus for activity.
The Super Bowl is American football’s biggest game, where the champions of the National Football League are decided. Whilst it used to be almost ignored outside of the United States, it has in recent years become a popular event across the world. This means that it can be used by teachers as a focus for stimulating and engaging classroom activities and projects, wherever you are in the world.
Measuring And Maths
One of the more obvious ways of linking a sport like American football into a programme of study is by using mathematics. As with many American sports, gridiron football is obsessed with statistics. Whether it is yards made, first downs achieved or kicks taken, every statistic is recorded. This means that student trips to the computer room and the library can be built into the teaching schedule, with research helping to bring the lessons to life and engage students.
The game itself also focuses on winning territory, which makes measuring things an integral part of its processes. Student trips to the nearest sports field, accompanied by measuring tapes, can be a good way of supplementing this work. It is possible to mark out yards on an area of grass and then compare and convert them to metres. Another possibility is looking at the number of yards a team makes on a typical drive or play and then working out how many more yards they will need to acquire to score. Some knowledge of the rules of the sport is necessary for this kind of activity, so that could add another research component for the students to undertake.
Culture, Geography And History
The humanities and arts subjects can also acquire a degree of Super Bowl fever. History teachers can link in the history of the game and the sport to important themes in American history. One example of this would be the Civil Rights era, with the number of African-American players increasing over the years. Another example could be the development of American mass media.
The competing teams can also be a way into a study of US geography. The event was held in New Orleans in 2013 and that city can be used a focus for a study of American immigration patterns, languages and more scientific geography, due to its Gulf Coast location and famously low altitude. Identifying all the NFL teams’ home cities on a map of the United States is a good exercise for younger students.
So whatever your views on American sport, use the opportunity afforded by the Super Bowl to engage and stimulate your students. If nothing else, you can take some professional wisdom from seeing what works and what needs re-evaluating.
Author Bio: Shannen is a teacher and writer from Hull, in the East Riding of Yorkshire. She has also spent much of her career teaching in American schools and now writes about educational matters too, sharing her knowledge of aspects of teaching such as student trips with a wide range of websites and blogs.