Rare sports cards in pristine condition are hitting the market and being snapped up by savvy buyers – and it’s all thanks to the Coronavirus pandemic! While the connection between cards and COVID-19 may seem peculiar, it turns out that people across the globe, bored during lockdowns and isolation, have been decluttering their homes and finding expensive treasures from their youth that are now worth hundreds, thousands and sometimes millions of dollars. Recent reports indicate sports card values surged by more than 1,000 per cent last year. In August 2021 a record was set for the most expensive sports card ever sold – $USD6.6million for the T206 Honus Wagner baseball card!
While sports cards have nostalgic and monetary value, importantly for educators and parents, there is an emerging realisation that these cards can be a helpful tool for engaging children in maths. So, no matter if your child has always been an avid sports card collector, or has only recently taken an interest thanks to the multitude of YouTube and TikTok ‘sports card unboxings’, you might be able to put those cool cards to fun mathematical use!
Sports cards contain a wealth of numbers, and where there are numbers, there is maths. Sports cards depict statistical numbers of interest about a sports player’s physical attributes and their career highlights. Children can have fun working with numbers such as weight, height, kicks, hits, home runs, goals, etc to learn about maths’ role in data processing and analysis, as well as learning about units of measure.
For example, a simple maths activity involving sports cards can involve children learning how to calculate the mean, median, mode and range of the statistics on an individual or set of cards. Children can display player data and their findings in organised tables and graphs that can be analysed and compared. Further, they can play around with card sets to calculate the mean, median, mode and range of entire sporting teams, or use the stats to create their very own ‘dream team’.
Interestingly, sports analytics is a growing multi-billion dollar industry that works closely with current and historical player data to recruit athletic talent and draft well-rounded teams. Sports analytics relies on data, similar to that found on sports cards, to foresee and even attempt to control the outcomes of sporting events.
Sports cards are also an ideal source of numbers to help children with more simple maths concepts like addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Sports cards provide numbers in an engaging format that children can enthusiastically use to explore a variety of maths concepts.
ORIGO Education’s Think Tanks provide ready-to-use opportunities for Year 1 to Year 6 students to apply learning, foster thinking skills, and increase procedural fluency. Students engage in problem situations requiring them to reason mathematically and quantitatively. One of the many fantastic Think Tank exercises for year 3 students uses sports cards to encourage mathematical thinking and problem solving.