Millions of football fans will be watching all over Europe as Euro 2004 kicks off in Portugal this week. Tom Deveson looks at some educational packs that build on the excitement
David Beckham runs ecstatically across the cover of the timely and attractive resource pack Ready for Euro 2004: Learning through Football (packs are available for key stages 2 and 3), his rapture apparently the result of scoring on the pitch rather than off it. Within, there are plenty of activities to distract children's attention from sleazy tabloid gossip and direct them towards the purer topics of the national curriculum.
Two large and bright posters set the tone. One is a map of Europe, showing all the countries, capital cities and flags, not just those involved in this summer's tournament. The other features Michael Owen with the ball at his feet, accompanied by diagrams demonstrating how his heart pumps blood and how his arm and leg muscles allow him to move. On the back of the posters are eight photocopiable worksheets. In mathematics, children are invited to use data about stadiums and ticket sales to investigate ratios and percentages, or to work out the exact timing of Zidane's late goal in a fantasy final between France and England. They can also trace the geometric shapes created by the ball's movement or calculate the angles involved in passes.
It might prove trickier to get students to spend an English lesson persuading the class that an arbitrarily chosen team will be the real winner. Writing and then performing an interview with one of the losing finalists (the suggested adjectives don't include "gutted") should, however, provide good scope for some colourful language. Work in geography asks children to use the grid on the map to locate cities using pairs of co-ordinates and, in an amusing and enjoyable development of this skill, to identify the position of players on the pitch - Sol Campbell's at 6,4 while Wayne Rooney is at 7,8. There is also a useful array of meteorological graphs, with tasks that involve smart manipulation of figures in order to compare Lisbon's sunshine and rainfall with that in London and Stockholm.
Science activities include more encounters with hearts and muscles and the familiar challenge of selecting well-balanced diets for a healthy athletic life. KS3 visitors to the website can try out some of the extra worksheets on science. These invite students to compare the workings of their bodies with those of the team: an opportunity for investigations into Sven-Goran Eriksson's gastric juices, Paul Scholes's respiratory system, Steven Gerrard's capillary tissues and, yes, David Beckham's pelvis. For KS23, there are competitions in which schools can claim the use of the England squad's bus for a day - that'll alarm opposing teams. Even teachers have the chance to win tickets for a home game and an autographed shirt.
* For more details about Ready for Euro 2004 packs, apply to your LEA or visit: www.thefa.comGrassrootsFootballInSchools