Real-Life Connections to Math – Winter Olympics
We have all heard students who ask “why will I ever need to know this?” when faced with a math problem. Students strive to make connections between what they are learning in math and the practical application to the world around them. This month offers us a valuable opportunity to do this through an event that many of our students will follow very closely – the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
Before we even think about the events themselves, consider the logistics of putting on an event of this magnitude. How many countries? How far did they travel? How large is their team? What would it cost them to fly to Sochi and stay there for the duration of the games? Which team travelled farthest to be there? How much gold, silver, and bronze will be needed to make the medals? How much will this cost based on current market rates? How many venues are there? What are their capacities? How many people will attend the games and how much will be generated through ticket sales? Could we organize a school Olympics?
Once we get into the events, there are even more applications for math. These may include:
Hockey – positive and negative integers for player +/-
Figure Skating – decimals, mean, mode and median
Bobsleigh – elapsed time, comparing decimals numbers
Curling – angles
Ski Jumping – measurement of distance
Luge – velocity, rates of change
I am sure if I knew the sports in more depth there would be many more examples!
It is important that we tie the learning in our classrooms to the world outside and show the students how it can be relevant in the world around them. Take the opportunity to look for the math at the Olympics and bring this into your classroom.