Talking About Sports
Doing research on a sports team can be a way to have students practice a variety of skills.
By Cathy Neushul
With the high level of interest in sports, both amateur and professional, this topic can be a great way to get students reading, writing, and learning. However, the idea is not to alienate anyone. If there are students who don’t do athletics, or aren’t a fan of a particular team, you can still get them motivated and involved. When talking about sports with your class you don’t have to focus on the most popular ones, like soccer or baseball, you can have them discuss the ones that they might not think of at first, like pool or table tennis, or my favorite, dodgeball.
How to Begin a Lesson About Sports
The first step when having students do activities related to sports is to have students list all the ones they can think of. Encourage students to be creative, and list ones they might not know that much about, but would like to learn about. Once you have a comprehensive list, have students pick their favorite. They will be expected to do research on the sport using the Internet and books. You can give students a list of the areas you expect them to cover, such as the history of the sport, its rules, famous people who have played the sport, etc… Students should take notes as they work. In the end, students will be expected to produce a written report talking about their sport, with diagrams, posters, and visual aids.
Working on the Final Product
Once students have learned about each of the areas you would like them to cover in their report, you can have them get started writing. It is important to leave time each day for students to share their work in a group and get input from others. Before you do this you might want to make sure that students know how to make constructive comments. You want to make sure that everyone gets the most out the experience. Students should take time to write down the suggestions made by their classmates. As they work on their report, they can make sure to answer the questions or incorporate the suggestions that were made.
Making the Project Visual
As part of the project, you can have students write a list of rules for their sport, draw diagrams to show how the sport is played, and provide pictures of the famous players they have mentioned. They can make these visuals as small or as big as you like. They can even design a poster to illustrate something about their sport. If you want to incorporate technology in the project, you could have students make a PowerPoint presentation about their topic. But whatever you do, you should make time to allow students to share their projects. They should be really interesting.
With sports such a big part of students lives you can use this fact to get students writing, drawing, and learning. After completing this project, students should not only have learned about a particular sport, they should have worked on their research skills. In addition, by working together and learning how to help their classmates improve their projects, students should gain important social skills that can make them successful when working on group work. What follows are more sports-related lessons and activities.
Sports Lessons and Activities:
In this lesson students write press releases about a sport, and create other visual elements including business cards, ads, and commercials. It's a great way to get students thinking about writing about a sport.
This is a great lesson to have students learn how to use statistical data to answer questions. Students figure out which are the most popular sports by doing research. By using this lesson you can have students practice math skills while learning about sports.
By using the idea of firsts in sports as the key idea, you can have students branch off into their own area of interest. One student might be interested in women in sports, another might want to find out about firsts in baseball. Students can tailor their research to their individual interest.
Map Your Favorite Sports Team’s Next Road Trip
Students can work on this lesson in a group or individually to follow a team's road trips during a season. It's an interesting way to have students practice math skills.