Super Bowl ads and scientific notation


Newton teacher, Matt Timmins gave us this timely activity which would be great to use on the day after the Super Bowl. Enjoy!

Students practice using scientific notation as they calculate the cost of Super Bowl commercials. After working with these incredible costs, students get to express their opinions about the ads and decide who the marketing was geared towards.

The activity:  super-bowl-ads2015.pdf

For members we have an editable Word docx and solutions.

super-bowl-ads2015.docx      super-bowl-ads2015-solution.pdf


Super Bowl posts and Groundhog day, 2015

Clean close shave - Brian shows a graphic that correlates facial hair to quarterback ranking and allows you to bring up sampling, causation versus correlation, misleading data, measures of central tendency, variability and data visualization

deflated-footballDeflate-gate - Students work with a negative number line to define and express the present controversy of under inflated footballs.  Using a football gauge that reads zero when the football is properly inflated at 13 psi, students express the values by graphing, using expressions, and inequalities. A little physics lets them evaluate the validity of temperature change resulting in this loss of pressure.

How have the cost of Super Bowl ads changed?puppy-love - Students analyze and graph our data of all of the previous Super Bowls and decide whether the change in ad cost is linear, exponential, or something else.  Then they predict the cost of the future ads.

SuperBowlXLIXLogoSuper Bowl Numerals XLIX - Roman numerals are rarely taught in our curriculum but they are used in our society.  Give students a chance to do some really cool addition with Roman numerals and refresh their meaning.

score2014Typical Super Bowl scores - Encourage your students to guess what the final Super Bowl score will be.  Analyze the data in class finding the mean, median and range of past game scores.  Then give students the opportunity to correct their predictions.  Follow up after the game.

groundhogGroundhog Day - Sunday, February 2nd is also Groundhog day.  How often is Punxsutawney Phil correct in predicting the coming of Spring?  Relative probability can be introduced and mastered with our activity using Phil's past predictions.

4th down - Use data to analyze whether to "go for it", punt, or kick a field goal.

And how about some bonus NFL or Super Bowl related activities:

Watson Saves -Watch the video with your class and use our activity to motivate students to figure out who ran a greater distance by using the Pythagorean Theorem.  In the video Teddy Bruschi says that Watson must have ran about 120 yards, maybe even more.  Use the video and/or our activity to see if Teddy’s estimate is about right.

Losing Teams in the Playoffs A look at the worst teams (by regular season record) to ever make the playoffs in the NFL, NBA and MLB.  Fractions, Ratios, Percent.

NFL Home field advantage  Students use an infographic to compare NFL team home and away wins.  Students consider the best home team, the best away team and consider if NFL teams really do seem to have a home field advantage.

Which TV is the Best Deal? Time to buy a new HDTV for the big game.  Which TV gives the best deal considering screen size?  Integrates area and unit rate.

Groundhog Day, 2015


February 2nd, Punxsutawney Phil will again, with great ceremony, come out of his burrow and look for his shadow. There's nothing like a cute animal picture to make your students smile as they calculate the relative frequency of Phil's upcoming prediction.

Clean Close Shave

Take a look at the infographic.  What do you see? What do you think?  What do you wonder?


Image from West Coast Shaving. Clicking on this image will show it expandable in a new window. Just click a second time on the image to expand it.

In this lesson students compare QB rating of quarterbacks with and without facial hair.  This task can be used to explore a number of math ideas such as sampling, causation versus correlation, misleading data, measures of central tendency, variability and data visualization.  Questions to consider:


The deflated ball controversy makes an interesting segue into negative number line understanding.  A particular digital psi football gauge reads 0 when the ball is at a proper NFL inflation of 13 psi.  Footballs inflated under 13 psi produce negative psi readings and students have to decide the range of possible inflation levels and which reading is less inflated.  Students work with negative numbers, inequalities, and graph on the number line, all in this controversial context.  Finally, students use proportional reasoning to determine if an air temperature difference could have accounted for the deflated footballs (the math & physics has been simplified down a bit, we went with many sources boiled the math down to, you can see all the math here).  Older students can dabble in writing compound inequalities and absolute value inequalities.

Typical Super Bowl scores ????


The Super Bowl is coming up!  Are you planning to share a prediction for the score of the big game?  Don't leave it all to chance, use math to help you get a better idea of what to expect for a final score.  What is the typical score of a Super Bowl?  Let's do the math!

In this activity students study historical Super Bowl data to reflect on average (mean, median, and mode) losing scores, winning scores, and range of scores. They are asked to judge which of these central measurements seem the most meaningful and explain their reasoning.