The Rational Football League

Fantasy football can be a ton of fun, but winning your league requires months of careful research, late nights searching for updates on players you barely even know exist, and the toll of an emotional roller-coaster played out in fifteen minute increments. It also requires math! Specifically, it involves reading and understanding a wide range of player statistics, optimizing your team player by player based on an ever-dwindling pool of prospects.

Our Rational Football League activity was like a full season of fantasy football injected with targeted math standards and stuffed into a single class period. Students, working in pairs, drafted a six-player team given just two statistics and three options for each position. These statistics were randomly generated, so each pair of students was presented with a vastly different set of players. To understand which player to draft for a given position, students had to use ratio and proportional reasoning (the focus of the unit) to compare the three options, then decide which of the two stats they deemed more important. They justified their choices on paper, including both their mathematical reasoning and their football strategies.

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Body System Amusement Parks

Body systems are inherently gross. This is evidenced by the sheer volume of “eww!”s and “turn it off!”s radiating through the walls of Ms. Fernandez’s seventh grade science class in the days leading up to this project. Muscular system? Gross, because you’re looking under your skin. Circulatory system? Gross, because there’s blood everywhere. Digestive system? Poop. Everything leads to poop.

In order to abstract away some of the gorier details of the human body, we tasked students with designing and building amusement parks based on the body systems they had been learning about. The goal was to pitch their park to the Fernandez and Sheldon LLC investment firm using a physical model and a PowerPoint presentation explaining what made their park unique and how each attraction related to a body system.

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