Lesson Plan Booster: Baseball Math

This guide will help kick-start math lessons by incorporating elements of baseball. During the Major League regular season, many students may find that they already use math when they follow and track the progress of their favorite teams and players.

Student learning objective:  Students discover the connection between math and popular entertainment.

Preparation

Teachers should begin by getting familiar with the game of baseball. Watch a few innings of the local team or visit the baseball Wikipedia page or Sports Fitness Advisor's Baseball Training Guide to get the basics down. Pay particular attention to the dimensions of the field, including the length of the base paths and the distance from the plate to the outfield wall. Also study the major statistical categories like batting average and ERA.

Simple addition can be related to everything from running the bases to figuring out how teams can advance in terms of standings. Beyond the field (e.g., when considering prices at the concession stand), baseball offers countless opportunities to implement math.

Advanced problems can even be developed at the high-school level—for example, geometry with relation to the dimensions of individual ball parks, or probability as it relates to player statistics.

Introducing discussion to students

Baseball fans use math every day for entertainment. We're going to explore some ways that we can use the game to practice math.

Options for student discussion questions and math problems

1. What are other cases of math being used for entertainment (e.g., casino gambling, Sudoku puzzles)?
2. How would baseball be different if math were eliminated from the sport?
3. How many jobs in baseball, from the architect who designed the ball park to the statistician who tracks the players, involve using math?
4. Could you become a successful ballplayer without being competent in math?
5. If a player hits a double, how far has he run? Answer: 180 feet. Because the bases are all 90 feet apart and he covered two bases, 90 + 90 = 180.
6. If your favorite team is three games behind in the standings, how many games does it need to win to conquer an opponent? Answer: The team needs to win four more games than its opponent in order to overtake that opponent.
7. If a player hit safely three times in 10 at-bats, what is his batting average? Answer: Three divided by 10 = .300, so the player’s batting average is .300.
8. At a baseball game you can purchase 16 oz. of soda for \$2.95 or 24 oz. for \$3.75. Which size offers the lower price per ounce? Answer: \$3.75 divided by 24 = 15.6. The 24 oz. size soda, at 15.6 cents per ounce, offers the better value.
9. A team’s record over the last 10 years is 800-670. Without taking any other variables into account, what should the team’s record be this year? Answer: Divide both 800 and 670 by the number of past years (10) to get the predicted record for the current year. The team is expected to have 80 wins and 67 losses this year.

Article by Jason Tomaszewski, EducationWorld Associate Editor
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