Sports as a math memory aid
My son is a big sports fan and has a very good memory for sports. However, like many children, he is not as mindful of number facts.
Speaking to him about this, we realized there are some numbers he knows very well: Athletes’ jersey numbers: especially hockey players’ numbers.
The number 99 belongs to one man: Wayne Gretzky. It is also the product of 9×11.
And so, for sporty kids, we developed a downloadable multiplication table using the jersey numbers of hockey players. We’re going to offer it free on the Askey Studio site for now.
The Design Process
This one took quite a bit of research. Some jersey numbers we had in mind ahead of time: Luongo #1, Sittler #27, and of course Gretzky #99. We also consulted NHL Hockey By The Numbers by Michael Egenolf, for some of the less obvious ones. We had debates when there was more than one player having a particular number.
The jersey illustrations themselves are stylized replicas with the team colours the player was known for. Although, this again caused some discussions. Should we have 99 on the Kings or the Oilers? (Answer: Oilers.)
For the colours themselves, we found an excellent resource: Team Color Codes. The Team Color Codes team seems pretty thorough in how they compile the colour information. We went with the Pantone Matching System for accuracy.
We hope teachers and parents will find this helpful for young sports fans.
Associating players with math facts may produce that positive attitude kids need. “Orr times Coffie equals Giroux” may be a first step for young math students to get to “4×7 = 28.”
Thanks to Cade Askey for his ideas and research on this project. Perhaps we’ll try another one with a different sport in the future.