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Keep everyone excited, focused on math, and having fun right down to the last day of school with baseball math! Students will enjoy this unique game, which challenges them to create their own baseball leagues and gives them practice in combinations, schedules, decimals, and percentages as they compete.
- Blank white paper, one sheet per pair of students
- Markers or pens
- Place markers (e.g. cubes, chips, coins), four per student
- Dice, one per student
- Optional: Chart paper or whiteboard
- On each sheet of paper, draw a baseball diamond. These will serve as the game boards. You can also have students make their own game boards.
- Optional: You may want to write the Batting Table: Dice Roll and Results out on the whiteboard or a sheet of chart paper posted in the classroom. Students will refer to this table throughout their games.
Part I: Introducing the Game
Choose two volunteers to demonstrate a simple baseball game for the class. Give each player a die and four place markers (e.g. cubes, chips, coins). Provide a baseball diamond game board.
Guide students through the following steps:
Step 1: Roll the dice to decide who will bat first. That player puts his or her place markers behind home plate.
Step 2: Both players roll the dice or make the "pitch." The numbers on the dice are added together. Match the sum to the batting table below for the result. A sum of seven, for example, is a single.
Step 3: The player at bat moves the first marker according to the batting table.
Step 4: Play continues as in a regular baseball game for three innings. The player with the most runs wins.
Distribute dice, game boards, and markers to the class and have pairs try their own practice games.
Batting Table: Dice Roll and Results
- 7 = Single
- 2 = Home Run
- 8 = Strike
- 3 = Pop Out
- 9 = Strikeout
- 4 = Single
- 10 = Foul Ball
- 5 = Ground Out
- 11 = Double
- 6 = Pop Out
- 12 = Strike
Part II: Beginning the League
Step 1: After the practice games, tell students they will be forming their own baseball leagues. Split the class into two groups: the American League and the National League.
Step 2: Within the two groups, have students partner up to become managers of their baseball team. Each pair should choose a team name.
Step 3: Provide time for each league to meet and create a schedule. Tell students the days available for play (for instance, the last 10 days of school are a good stretch with which to work). The schedule should have each team playing every other team in its league at least twice.
Step 4: Meet as a class to review the two league schedules. Have both leagues model their mathematical scheduling strategies on the board through diagrams or charts, demonstrating how they accounted for all possibilities.
Step 5: Display the schedules in the classroom or photocopy the schedules and distribute copies to the class.
Part III: Calculating the Standings
Step 1: Begin play according to the schedules. Games typically take about 10 minutes and can be played toward the end of a class period, after students have finished their other assignments. Have players record the final scores after each game.
Step 2: Arrange for partner teams to take turns collecting and analyzing the results. They should report back with the overall win/loss record, winning percentage in decimal form, and ranking for each team compiled in a Sample Standings Chart (see sample below). This is a great opportunity to see clearly the relationship between fractions and decimals, as well as their usefulness. Check and post each report.
|| Win Pct.
Note: You may want to preface this task with a mini-lesson on using division to find percentages, either as a paper-and-pencil exercise or with a calculator.
Step 3: Continue to play through the schedules set up by the leagues.
Step 4: If you have time, schedule playoffs and a World Series between the National League winner and the American League winner.
You'll find that kids may not want school — or at least the leagues — to end!
Bob Krech, a Teacher magazine teacher-adviser, has been an elementary-school teacher for more than 20 years. This article was originally published in the May/June 2000 issue.