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It’s football season and that can mean only one thing — Fantasy Football! As followers of this online game know, virtual team rosters are created from real players in the NFL and teams win or lose based on how their real player counterparts perform each week. The virtual teams compete in their virtual leagues and win their weekly matchup based on points given per touchdown, yards run or passed, field goals, and so on. It’s engaging, social, and fun to play — which is why it’s such a great way to teach math to kids!

Fourth graders in Michelle Smietana’s class spend an hour per week managing their Fantasy Football teams. They analyze the previous week’s games, tally points, calculate statistics for their players, and put those players with the highest stats on their starting lineup for the coming week.

It becomes a real-world connection for the kids,” observes Michelle, “where math is a necessary component.

Each Wednesday students receive a roster worksheet listing all the players and their points to use in their calculations. There are variables to take into account, such as injuries, bye weeks, and player substitutions in planning for the next game. For students, the time goes by way too fast, and a look around the room shows them totally engaged in this enjoyable, practical, hands-on approach to math. Go team!