Cross-curricular footie

18th October 1996 at 01:00
Football is the beautiful game - it can be used to teach everything in the curriculum. So organise a tournament. Ted Wragg shows how.


Making coloured bibs (red, blue, green etc) is great fun and has all the necessary "design", "selecting materials", "making" and "evaluation" elements. Children try out with newspaper or some other pattern paper first to see what shape is needed for different people to get their head through (how big a hole?) and then be able to fasten the front and back parts of the bib (how wide?) at their waist (how do you fasten it - tapes? Velcro?). Numbers can be cut out (try paper first) and stuck (iron on? stitch?) on to the back. Preparing food (what is suitable and manageable?) and drink (how do you dilute orange squash?) is fun, and even better when you consume it at the end.


There is a great deal of maths in football, as in many sports. Keeping time, keeping scores, adding points, working out "goal difference" (ie "goals for" minus "goals against" - "Sir, you can't take away 5 from 3, it won't go" ... "Funny you should mention that Jason, you're about to learn what 'negative numbers' are"). Then there are little puzzles - "Suppose you get three points for a win and one for a draw, how many points have you got? Would the league table be different if you only got two points for a win, like they used to in the old days?" The tactics of the game also provide opportunities for maths. Stick two pins in a board, to represent the goal, slip an elastic band over them, and when you pull it you neatly show the shooting angle available to a footballer coming in to the goal zone from different places. A matchstick can be used to show how a goalkeeper with his arms out can "narrow the angle". Where is it easiesthardest to score?


Making the programme, writing accounts of the games, doing spoken commentaries for a video, if possible. Class debates - should footballers (and others in the public eye) set a good example to children? Is money ruining football? (for example do high transfer fees and high wages push up the cost of football shirts and tickets to matches?).


Drawing and painting records of the event, photographing each team and the game, mounting and entering the whole thing in a huge scrapbook.


Sing (clean and polite) football songs, make up a new one.


British teams are playing World Cup qualifiers this year and next year, and some are in European competitions. So where is Turin? Zurich? Moldova? Are they important places for any reason?


Bouncing balls, applying a force (kick, header, throw) which propels a ball. Which muscles are we using and why are we out of breath when we chase a ball?

Personal social education Being a good team member, playing fair, supporting people rather than ridiculing or shouting at them, not cheating, not arguing with the referee but accepting decisions. Being a good winner or a good loser. Should the winning team get a big round of applause and then serve the food and drink to the others?

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