Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Bowling and Math

Recently, I joined a weekly bingo league and realized that simple addition and daily physical activity could be integrated together.  First, give each student a bingo sheet which has all the numbers 0-99 (inclusive) on it.  In Red Deer, Heritage Lanes has these already made up.  An example of one box might look like

Essentially, you have a total of 4 boxes, each with 25 squares and therefore all numbers will appear once.

How to play:

Take the last two digits of your TOTAL score on each frame of bowling and cross off the respective number on your bingo sheet.  First to a line, X, blackout, etc..wins!  Students would play at least 3 games with the same sheet for all games.

Where is the math?

Students, most likely, would play the first game not caring what score they receive and simply crossing off the scores.  Starting the second game, students will probably start becoming strategic towards the scores they want.  This is where the math will come out, and you will want to do some teaching on how bowling scores work.

Crucial knowledge includes:

  • Pins are worth 2,3,5,3,2 from left to right
  • Strikes are worth 15 points plus the score of the next two balls thrown. (Frame ends)
  • Spares are worth 15 points plus the score of the next ball thrown. (Frame ends)
  • The 10th (final) frame, you throw 3 balls no matter what you knock down on each ball.

Here is what recently happened on my team:
One of the bowlers needed a score of 68 to complete a line and was currently at a score of 17.  He threw a strike and therefore the machine doesn't update your score until his next 2 balls are scored and I saw him doing some math on the back of his bingo sheet.

He realized that essentially he has 32, and the next two balls are worth double points, as they count towards the next frame as well as the previous strike.  Quickly, him and I talked about how he needed 36 points.

There are many options to get this, but one essential question he asked is "Can I get another strike, or will this put me over?"  The answer to this will determine how he throws the first ball in the next frame.

If he throws another strike then, the first strike is now worth 30 points plus the next ball thrown, and the second strike will be worth 15 points plus the next 2 balls thrown, and therefore he essentially would have a score of 62 and the next ball would be worth triple points.  Which means if he throws another strike, then a 2 pin and gutters the 2 balls after this (to complete the third frame) he would be at 68.

What I realized is that the 3 adults on my team (all over age 25) had to think about this problem and it wasn't easily solved.  I wonder if this could help students learn simple addition and multiplication in a context and for a purpose.

If you teach younger grades and want to embed movement into your math classes, I suggest a field trip to a local bowling place. If you are in Red Deer, then I advise you to go to Heritage Lanes, as these sheets are already made.