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6-8:Baseball Fun: Percentages, Decimals, and Fractions

by Adrian Bustle, Learn NC

Students will learn the concepts behind fractions, decimals, and percents by using sports statistics found on baseball cards.

A lesson plan for Grade 8 Mathematics

Students will:

  • use fractions and estimation in calculating statistics.
  • describe how to calculate percentages to decimals.
  • calculate batting averages and pitching averages and learn to connect their findings to classroom activities.
  • demonstrate how to display their data in a variety of graphs.

Time required for lesson: 2 Hours

Materials/resources

  • baseball cards
  • scratch paper
  • pencils
  • colored pencils
  • rulers
  • calculators
  • drawing paper

Technology resources

  • Laptop, projector, and SmartBoard are necessary for presentations.
  • Spreadsheet program for ready display.

Pre-activities

1. Students should complete an assignment dealing with calculating percentages, changing decimals to percents, and creating fractions using decimals.

2. Teacher should demonstrate how to calculate a season’s batting average from using a baseball card as an example and to chart it on a spreadsheet.

3. Teacher should demonstate how to calculate a pitcher’s earned run average and chart it on a spreadsheet.

Activities

1. The teacher should begin the lesson by telling students how sports statistics help professional athletes (baseball in this case) negotiate a better contract that will get them more money due to their good performance. A bad average could make a players net worth drop dramatically as well.

2. The teacher can then pass out a baseball card that has a batting average on the back to each of the students and let the students familiarize themselves with the statistics on the back of the card.

3. The teacher can then demonstrate how to determine a player’s season batting average by dividing total hits by the number of times the player went to bat(ab{at bats}). By rounding the average off to the thousandths place, a student can get the average. With the data from each year(combined and then averaged), students will be able to get a lifetime average and determine how well a player has played during the course of his career.

4. Students will then fill in their data on the spreadsheet provided by the teacher.

5. The next step for the students would be to change the batting average to a percent by moving the decimal to the right two spaces and then they have the percentage of times at bat a player gets a base hit.

6. To change the percentage to a fraction, the teacher will have students round off the percentage and divide it by 100 and reduce the fraction to lowest terms.

7. Allow students to present their findings to the class using a SmartBoard and projector or a class-made display to “show off” their data for their superstar.

8. Allow students to use the rubric to grade each others work.

Assessment

  • Students will be allowed to evaluate each others project using a rubric provided by the teacher. (50%)
  • Teacher will also evaluate each presentation and calculations provided by each student. (25% + 25%)

Attachments:

  • rubric (see below)

Related websites

This is a website that slow learners can use to help them calculate the batting averages of baseball players: http://www.brewsterll.org/bll/fun3.htm

Comments

Teaching kids how to calculate averages (decimals), fractions, and percents by using something that a lot of kids collect such as baseball cards can be meaningful by helping them to remember skills they will need throughout their lives.

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