Superbowl in the classroom

Today at 6:30 pm EST The New York Giants will take on The New England Patriots in Superbowl XLVI. And tomorrow morning, at about 9:30 am, my grade 4/5 class will compare their game predictions and try and answer questions about the game and the spectacle.

Many students, especially those with no interest ask me ‘why?’ which is a fair question with anything we do in the classroom. Here’s my explanation:

  1. This is a huge TV event which happens to include a football game. Last year’s Superbowl was the most watched US TV program in history (111 million viewers) and this years audience will probably break that record. We’ll discuss why that’s important (e.g. advertising)
  2. The half time show will feature Madonna along with several surprise stars (MIA?, Nikki Minaj?) performing live. This is a different, less produced version of these stars than students usually see on YouTube videos. We’ll discuss who lived up to expectations and why.
  3. The size of the TV audience means that Superbowl commercials cost $3.5 million US for a 30 second spot. Advertisers pump up the budgets and the creativity, and the commercials are amazingly fun to watch. We often don’t get these broadcast in Canada, but my students and I watch them on YouTube. I’ll use these as a jumping off point to discuss advertising techniques and develop media literacy in students.
  4. We’ll look at Google Maps, locate the participating cities and advance students understanding of US Geography.
  5. It’s a shared cultural experience. There are fewer and fewer of these and I want my students to know the feeling of everybody watching something separately and coming together to share their different perspectives. This develops communication skills.
  6. It’s fun for some students. It’s a good way to connect with students who enjoy the game in it’s own right, and gives students a way to connect with others in their family who are watching the game. This enhances social skills.