Below are ideas on how to make the Super Bowl relevant to your curriculum. Courtesy of the nytimes.com:
History and Civics:
- The First Super Bowl: Read the original Times article about the first Super Bowl in 1967. Compare it to an article reporting on a recent Super Bowl, then create an infographic — perhaps a Venn diagram or a timeline — showing how the event has changed over time.
- Sports and Leadership: Use sports to help students think about leadership with our Super Bowl lesson from 2001, in which students answer questions like “Why do you think the success of a sports team has such an impact on the city it represents?” and “What is ‘morale’ and what do you think leaders can do to ‘boost’ it? (Our recent piece on Teaching the Penn State Scandal also poses questions about leadership.)
- A Museum of Athletes: Have students reflect on the qualities that make an exceptional athlete, then design museum exhibits celebrating their achievements, using our lesson plan “The Sporting Life.”
- New Orleans Super Bowl History: “Super Bowls in the Crescent City were often as spicy as the Cajun food,” reports Dave Anderson in a story about “unusual subplots” that have surfaced in New Orleans during past games. Students might use this piece as inspiration for delving into local history in their area through the lens of a sport or hobby that interests them.
- Student Crossword: Try our new crossword on Football.
- Fill-In-the-Blanks: Try our football and Super Bowl-related fill-ins, on the 2012 ad campaigns. the 2010 Super Bowl, playing high school football during Ramadan and on the 2011 N.F.L. playoffs. In each, supply the missing words in a Times article by putting in your own guesses or choosing from a scrambled list of the words that were removed.
- Descriptive Writing: Use sports writing as a model for descriptive writing with our lesson “Getting in the Game.”
- Sports in Your Life: Invite your students to write in and tell us Who Will Win Super Bowl XLVII? Will You Be Watching? or why they play sports themselves. Is it about winning, or just having fun?
- Make Predictions: Who do you think will win? Check out this “Point/Counterpoint” interactive and decide which Times sports editor makes the best case. Then take a look at the online ballot to make predictions about everything from who will be MVP to what color of sports drink the winning couch will be doused with to what songs Beyoncé will sing in her halftime show. What are your picks?
- Human interest…and Humor This year Jim and John Harbaugh, brothers separated by just 15 months but alike in so many other ways, will be on different sides of the country’s biggest sporting event when the Baltimore Ravens — the team John has coached for five seasons — play the San Francisco 49ers — the team Jim has coached for two — in the Super Bowl. The Harbaughs are the first brothers to be head coaches in the N.F.L.
Though it’s already being called one of The Dozen Overdone Super Bowl Story Lines, it’s something even non-fans can find interesting…as is The Onion’s play on it, “2013 Puppy Bowl Teams To Be Coached By Two Dogs From Same Litter.” Consider writing your own Onion-style piece about some aspect of this year’s Super Bowl.
- Bingo! Over on the Motherlode blog, K. J. Dell’Antonia has created a Super Bowl Ad Bingo game she’s inviting anyone interested to print, share and play. How much “Gangnam Style” do you predict? (Teachers, preview it first to make sure it is appropriate.)
- Twitter Map: Use the 2009 Interactive Map: Twitter Chatter During the Super Bowl to see a U.S. map that shows frequency of words tweeted as the Steelers played the Cardinals that year. What do you think a map of this year’s contest might look like? Why?
- Super Ads…: The Super Bowl is the biggest day of the year for advertising. Use our lesson plan to have students analyze and critique the ads that will air on Super Bowl XLVII.
- …And Super P.S.A.s: In 2010, Florida quarterback Tim Tebow made a controversial ad for a conservative Christian group that aired during the Super Bowl, and there was much discussion about whether or not it should run. Last year the N.F.L. was the target of more than a dozen lawsuits accusing it of deliberately concealing information about the effects on players of repeated hits to the head, and ran its own ad to address player safety. This year players are sharing a public service message about A.L.S.
What do you think about these kinds of issues-based ads and P.S.A.s? What ad or P.S.A. would you like to see during the Super Bowl this year, given the enormous audience that message would reach?
- Super Bowl Art: Try our design lesson, based on a slideshow of artist-created “alternative logos”, about how Super Bowl art has evolved over time.
- Head Injuries…: Head injuries in sports has been in the news a great deal this year. With all the research, is football reaching a “turning point”?
We have a lesson plan on brain trauma, but you might also invite students to answer our Student Opinion questions, “Is Tackle Football Too Dangerous For Kids to Play?” and “If Football Is So Dangerous to Players, Should We Be Watching It?”. Or try our lesson on sports risks and school policies to have your students do their own field research.
- …And Heart Attacks: Do heart attack rates rise during the Super Bowl? Have your students pose sports-related science and health questions and then work in groups to answer them, using this Science Times “Really?” column as a model.
- Football Anatomy Lessons: Or try our lesson on the anatomy and physiology of the muscular system, the skeletal system and connective tissue and have students research joints in the body.
- Data and Statistics: In a recent lesson plan, Put Me In, Coach! Getting in the Quantitative Game with Fantasy Football, students use statistical analyses and quantitative evaluations to get the edge in fantasy football. By looking at data, measuring match-ups and making projections, students put their analytic skills to the test.
- Determining “Greatness”: Use sports statistics to create graphs. In this lesson, students explore both the objective and subjective criteria used to determine the ‘greatness’ of a person or team. Students create graphs comparing sports statistics and argue the need for other criteria to adequately judge whether a person or team is ‘the best’ in their profession.
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