Math as a Sport

Would treating math as a sport rather then a subject, improve student performance?

How would the world change if math was considered a sport? It would be awesome! Not only would the physically uncoordinated have a chance at glory, but educational and career opportunities in this country would soar.

Ridicules you say? Why? Traditional sports require both mental and physical skills. The proportions of the two traits would be switched, that's all. Not exciting enough for spectators? True, for most people, but the rules of competition could change to make it more popular. Marketing and prizes certainly wouldn't hurt.

Imagine if tests were held in the gym and the crowd went wild when a student answered correctly. Imagine a giant "ahhhh" when the answer was wrong. Imagine the teacher/coach standing on the sideline shouting encouragement and strategies. Imagine the pride and shame of the coach and students at their combined results. Do you think taking a public test would encourage students to study more? Do you think teacher/coaches would give more effort?

I wonder ... if a classroom teacher was considered a "coach," would she be able to make a student do laps for uncompleted homework? Would more students do their homework if she could? Would students be willing to practice after school for two to three hours everyday? Would parents take time away from other activities to improve their student's math skills? Would more students go away to math camps in the summer? Would the teachers job performance be based on a team he could choose as first string players? Or perhaps her performance would be based on simply comparing "teams" in matching academic weight groups? Would this provide a more accurate basis of job performance?

If we want our students to do well, we have to think outside the box and change some fundamental things. We are a country of imaginative people. Imagine ... and then let's make it happen.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Prentiss Gray June 09, 2012 at 01:13 PM
Good piece. Mathematics is more than times tables and completing a page of sums in under a minute. One of my sons had a math teacher in Alexander Hamilton who assigned puzzles and problems for homework in the top math class. My wife complained that he should be learning his times tables instead. However he has a firmer grip on the relationships represented in an equation that anyone I know. I wish all math classes did the same, as a result he enjoys mathematics.


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