Here are a few examples of how you can use the Super Bowl to show your students that math really does apply outside of a textbook.

We learn math, not just to pass a test, but to be equipped to use it to help us in tasks God’s given us here on earth (and to behold His glory and faithfulness in holding all things together—see *God and Math?*).

Believe it or not, the Super Bowl was replete with examples of math in action.

**The Super Bowl Name**– Notice the*Roman numeral*in Super Bowl LII. The Super Bowl name (along with the*first*quarter,*second*quarter,*first*down,*second*down, etc.) is an example of*ordinal numbers*.**The Team Jerseys**– Perhaps the most obvious numbers on the field are those on the team jerseys. There’s an example of how we can use*numbers*like names—in this case, to identify different players.**The Field**– Yep, there are*numbers*on the field itself (50-yard line, etc.), and distance is constantly*measured*throughout the game. How far of a field goal needs kicked? How much distance left to go to get to the next first down? In a more background way, laying out the football field itself required*measurements*. And how much grass is needed? Or paint? Again,*measuring*(think*geometry*) in action!**Confetti (and Other Costs and Profits)**– So how much confetti was needed to fire off at the end of the game? And how much would it cost? How much did everything at the Super Bowl cost altogether? How much was brought in through ticket sales?*Math*can help us answer these behind-the-scenes questions.**The Ads**– A lot of math goes on behind the scenes when it comes to ads. Below are a few examples.- How much money did NBC receive in advertising? If you knew the price of the ads sold, that could be calculated using
*addition*. (In 2017, one source said it was around 385 million.) - When deciding if they should buy an ad, companies use math to help them compare different options. One useful measurement often used to compare options and develop an overall advertising plan is Gross Rating Points (GRPs), which is found by
*multiplying*two different measurements together.[1] One can also look at how much the ad costs per thousand people it reaches, which is found by*dividing*the cost of the ad by the total people reached (in thousands).[2] - How much does an ad cost altogether? That would take
*adding*up the cost of making the ad, the actual cost of buying the ad space, etc. - Is the ad a good ad to run? There’s no perfect way to tell this, but there are a lot of ways to try…and math can help. For example, one could test the ad before paying millions to air it in the Super Bowl. One testing method called the MSW* ARS shows ads (inside programs) to a sample group of people. Ads are given a score based on
*subtracting*the*percent*that was for the target brand after the ad with the*percent*that was for the target brand before the ad (in other words, seeing the*difference*the ad made).[3] - Was the ad effective? Again, there’s no perfect way to measure this, but there are a lot of ways to try. Marketers use numerous
*formulas*when evaluating sales and advertising to try to make sure that their advertising is really making a difference in sales.

- How much money did NBC receive in advertising? If you knew the price of the ads sold, that could be calculated using
**The Graphics**– Numerous graphics were introduced throughout the game. While we don’t often think of math and graphic design in the same sentence, graphic design often does use math. Not only does the computer program(s) used in designing use a lot of math behind the scenes, but graphic designers often use*math*to help position items,*scale*them, determine*proportions*, etc. Oh, and colors are specified using—you guessed it—*numbers*.**Statistics**– What was the*average*cost of a 30-second Super Bowl ad? What is the football player’s*percent*complete? How many yards has the quarterback thrown so far (this would require*adding*)? And a host of other stats that use*numbers*(and*addition*to find those numbers)!**The Special Effects**– Think of all the work that went in behind the scenes into coordinating various special effects. Math likely had a part in a lot of it: the*angles*of the lights, the levels of the various microphones (yes, math helps us*measure*audio levels too!), etc.

A lot goes in to an event like the Super Bowl—including a lot of math. The list above is by no means exhaustive, but hopefully it will get you (and your students) thinking.

Math’s much more than a textbook exercise—it’s a real-life tool we can use while praising the Creator.

Reminder: We’ve got a lot of math resources (and even curriculum) to help you teach math from this perspective.

[1] J. Craig Andrews and Terence A. Shimp, *Advertising, Promotion, and Other Aspects of Integrated Marketing Communications*, 10^{th} ed. (Boston, MA: Cengage Learning, 2018), p. 348.[2] Ibid., p. 356.

[3] Ibid., p. 386-388.

After having her own view of math transformed, Katherine has been researching, writing, and speaking on a biblical worldview of math for more than a decade. Her books on math and a biblical worldview have been used by individuals, homeschool groups, and Christian schools and colleges, and she recently finished a junior high math curriculum. Receive her free Math from a Biblical Worldview e-mail course at mathisnotneutral.com