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The Middle School Math Project

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Fantasy Baseball
Part I
(Number and Number Relations)
Objective
Students will study a thematic unit based on the game of baseball to investigate
number and number relations.
Overview of the Lesson
The following is an overview of the unit Fantasy Baseball - Parts I and II:
Students play a few innings of baseball as an introductory activity to this thematic
unit based on the game of baseball. The unit is centered around the analysis of the
statistical data contained on professional baseball trading cards. These cards are first
used to familiarize students with some of the basic terminology associated with the
game. Next, students are directed to focus their attention on the actual statistical
data included on the card and how to utilize this statistical data to determine the
overall rating of a players past performance. Additionally, students form work with
decimals and ratios to obtain key statistical data. This key statistical data, such as the
number of home runs to the number of cumulative times at bat, are essential to the
next phase of the unit: building a nine-player baseball team.
Student pairs act as co-managers of a baseball team. Each pair receives a pack of
baseball cards. They compute and analyze the key statistical data of the given players,
make decisions on who they want to keep and who they want to trade, arrange their
lineups, and play simulated games. Students use the key statistical data to construct
individual player spinners, determine the line up, and play a simulated baseball
game. The ultimate goal is to be the manager of the winning team of the Fantasy
Baseball World Series.
PBS MATHLINE

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Materials
Per Student
0 Fantasy Baseball Pre-Assessment Worksheet
O Baseball Card Glossary
O Player Guidelines
O Copy of Baseball Statistics or Baseball Cards for 2 players (Robin Ventura is
included in materials)
O Player Comparison Chart Worksheet
O Calculator
O Cutout tag board bases labeled Home, 1st, 2nd. and 3rd
Procedure
Describe the Fantasy Baseball unit to the students:
During this unit, you will become managers of your very own baseball team. You
will learn how to use decimals and ratios to analyze key statistical data, draft players,
make trades, construct a lineup, and play simulated games, all the way to the
Fantasy Baseball World Series. All of this will occur as we study the mathematics of
baseball. Baseball trading cards will be used as our source of information.
Note: A copy of a Fantasy Baseball Pre-assessment is included. If used, students
should complete this activity prior to the beginning the unit.
It is important that all students have a general knowledge of how the game of
baseball is played before they study this unit. Therefore, as an introduction, have
students play a few innings of baseball. If this is not possible, show a video clip of a
few innings of a baseball game and discuss some of the plays and players.
Place the four tag board bases around the room. Each student should receive a copy
of the Robin Ventura baseball card (or a baseball card of a player of your choosing )
and a copy of the Baseball Card Glossary. Point out that the terminology in the
glossary matches the terminology on the baseball card. Have students demonstrate
their understanding of the definitions of the terms in the glossary by playing a
simulated game. These terms include: hit (H), double (2B), triple (T), homerun
(HR), runs batted in (RBI), base on balls (BB), strikeout (SO), and stolen base (SB).
The other terms which are included in the glossary should also be discussed at this
time. These additional terms will probably be very easy for students to understand
PBS MATHLINE

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and master. They include year (YR), TEAM, games (G) and official at bats (AB).
Average (AVG) will be discussed later.
Place students in small groups where they further discuss the glossary terms. Have
them closely scrutinize the data of the sample player based on the definitions of
these terms. This should strengthen their familiarity with some of the baseball
terminology, while at the same time making them keenly aware of how an
understanding of decimals, ratios, and statistics enable them to make decisions based
on mathematics.
To prepare students to be able to make informed decisions about trades, line-ups etc.,
it is essential to have them focus on some comparative relationships which are
called key statistics. To begin this process, review ratios and proportions. Following
this review, distribute the Player Comparison Chart and Player Guidelines. The
Player Guidelines should be used to assist students in the evaluation and
discrimination of players based on their interpretation of the data.
Systematically discuss and compute the following key statistics. Make sure that
students understand why these statistics are so important and the theoretical
implications embedded in their values.
Batting Average (AVG) H
AB
On-Base Percentage (OB%) ( H + BB)
(AB + BB)
Cumulative at Bats (CUM. AB) AB + BB
HR : CUM. AB (unit ) Ratio HR = 1
AB + BB x
SO : CUM. AB (unit) Ratio SO = 1
AB + BB x
Note: The HR : CUM. AB and the SO : CUM. AB are computed to represent unit
ratios so that there is a clearer picture of what is happening in the homerun and
strikeout categories. Therefore, if the unit ratio is known, the manager will have
some theoretical idea of what performances to expect from a player based on his past
performances.
To assess students interpretation of these ratios, have them determine the most
favorable performances of this player and why. When assessing the HR: CUM. AB
(unit) Ratio, is it more favorable to have the unit compared to a larger number or
smaller number? Likewise, when assessing the SO : CUM. AB (unit) Ratio, is it
more favorable to compare the unit to a larger number or smaller number?
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For practice, provide students with the data for a another baseball player. Again,
students should go through the process of computing the key statistical data. The
results should be analyzed to determine the possible benefits or handicaps in having
this player on their team.
Resources
Scheidt, Tim. Fantasy Baseball, 1994. Giant Step Press. Solvang, California
PBS MATHLINE

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Ideas for Online Discussion
(Some ideas may apply to more than one standard of the NCTM Professional Standards for Teaching
Mathematics.)
Standard 1: Worthwhile Mathematical Tasks
0 The teacher of mathematics should pose tasks that are based on knowledge of
students understandings, interests, and experiences. (p. 25) A unit that builds
around a theme, is different from one that is structured around a mathematical
topic. Comment on any strengths or concerns you might have about each way of
organizing.
O The knowledge of so many mathematical skills is needed to successfully
complete this unit. Do you feel that the skills should be taught in advance and
then applied to the situation or should the skill be taught in the context of the
application?
Standard 4: Tools for Enhancing Discourse
O In this thematic unit, students played and dramatized a game, used real data
from baseball cards, chose when to use a calculator and computer, and
constructed spinners to simulate a game. When planning a unit, how do you
insure that a variety of tools for enhancing discourse are used?
Standard 6: Analysis of Teaching and Learning
O It is essential for teachers to make plans, both short- and long-range. (p. 63)
Using thematic units as an integral part of the instructional program provides
the environment for both. What affect has the use of thematic units had on
your students and on you?
FANTASY BASEBALL
Player Comparison Chart
Team Name _______________________________
Manager s __________________________ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
Complete the chart below for each of the eligible players you have received. Be sure to calculate the batting
average and on-base percentage to the nearest thousandth and record the HR: Cum. AB ratio and SO: Cum.
AB ratio as unit ratios rounded to the nearest whole number.
Pos./YR Name AB
Cum.
AB
Avg. OB%
HR:
Cum.AB
SO:
Cum.AB
PBS MATHLINE MSMP Fantasy Baseball-Part 1: Activity Sheet
Name _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
Date _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
Period _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
Fantasy Baseball
Pre-Assessment -- New Kids In Town
Imagine that two new kids have just moved into your neighborhood and are
looking to play on a local baseball or softball team. You have been told by your
coach that one of these students will be joining your team. Below are the statistics
that they accumulated for their previous teams. Analyze these statistics to help you
determine which player your would like to have on your team. On a separate sheet
of paper, explain who you would select, Player A or Player B. Be sure to support
your selection with the statistics that are given.
Player A
AB H 2B 3B HR BB SO
37 13 4 0 5 3 9
Player B
AB H 2B 3B HR BB SO
61 24 8 3 2 9 7
PBS MATHLINE MSMP Fantasy Baseball Part 1: Activity Sheet
BASEBALL CARD GLOSSARY
YR the year the player played for a given team.
TEAM the team played for during the year. Major League teams are
represented by the team name (Tigers, Giants, etc.). Minor League
teams are represented by the city in which the tram resides (Nashville,
Eugene, etc.)
AVG this number represents the player's batting average. This average is the
decimal equivalent of the ratio of hits to official at bats.
G the number of games the player appeared in for the team.
AB this represents the number of official at bats the player had during the
season. Official at bats (AB) do not include walks (BB) or sacrifice hits
(bunts, sacrifice files). Sacrifice hits do not count as at bats because the
player makes an expected out in order to advance the runner(s).
R the number of runs the player scored (times he crossed home plate).
H the number of hits a player got during the season. This number
represents the total singles, doubles, triples and home runs the player
accumulated during the season.
2B the number of doubles or times the player reached second base safely
due to a hit.
3B the number of triples or times the player reached third base safely due
to a hit.
HR the number of home runs the player hit during the season.
RBI the number or runs batted in that the player was credited with during
the season. This means that other players scored runs due to the
player's hitting performance.
BB the number of walks (also known as bases on balls) the player received
during the season.
SO the number of strikeouts the player had during the season.
SB the number of stolen bases the player had during the season.
PBS MATHLINE MSMP Fantasy Baseball Part 1: Activity Sheet
Fantasy Baseball
Player Guidelines
Use the following guidelines to help you determine whether or not you would like
to keep certain players for your team. Although these guidelines do not represent
everything you should consider, they'll be helpful when you receive your initial
draft of players.
BATTING AVERAGE
below .220 weak hitter: you won't want to keep unless their other statistics
(OB%, HR : Cum., AB ratio, SO : Cum. AB ratio) are considered
favorable.
.220 - .250 low average to average hitter: again, check their other statistics
and weigh your choices.
.250 - .300 good, solid hitter; more than likely you will want to keep a
player of this caliber unless other statistics are unfavorable or
you are able to trade for a player with better overall statistics.
.300 & up excellent hitter: this could be your superstar. Look over the
other statistics but expect to keep this player.
ON-BASE PERCENTAGE
The opinion of a group of student experts:
"We like to see a player that has an on-base percentage that is 60 to 100
points higher than their batting average. We also feel that this percentage
should be .340 or higher: The higher the percentage, the better!"
HR : CUM. AB (UNIT) RATIO
The guidelines for this statistic generated by the same group of students experts:
"We consider a HR : Cum. AB ratio of 1:30 to be very good. We feel that
this ratio or one that has a smaller number deserves strong consideration.
The smaller the number, the better!"
SO : CUM. AB (UNIT) RATIO
The guidelines for this statistic, also generated by the group of students experts:
"We consider a SO : Cum. AB ratio of 1:8 to be very good. We feel that this
ratio or one that has a larger number deserves strong consideration. In
this case, the larger the number, the better!"
PBS MATHLINE MSMP Fantasy Baseball Part-1: Activity Sheet
The Middle School Math Project
http://www.pbs.org/mathline Page 1
Fantasy Baseball
Part II
(Number and Number Relations)
Objective
Students will study a thematic unit based on the game of baseball to investigate
number and number relations.
Overview of the Lesson
Following is the overview of Fantasy Baseball - Parts I and II:
Students play a few innings of baseball as an introductory activity to a thematic unit
based on the game of baseball. The unit is centered around the analysis of the
statistical data contained on professional baseball trading cards. These cards are first
used to familiarize students with some of the basic terminology associated with the
game. Next, students are directed to focus their attention on the actual statistical
data included on the card and how to evaluate these statistics to determine the
overall rating of a players past performance. Additionally, students form ratios
using selected data to obtain key statistical data. This key statistical data, such as the
number of home runs to the number of cumulative times at bat (unit ratio), are
essential to the next phase of the unit: building a nine-player baseball team.
Student pairs act as co-managers of a baseball team. Each pair receives a pack of
baseball cards. They compute and analyze the key statistical data of the given players,
make decisions on who they want to keep and who they want to trade, arrange their
lineups, and play simulated games. The simulated games are played using player
spinners which are configured based on the statistical data of each player. The
ultimate goal is to be the manager of the winning team of the Fantasy Baseball
World Series.
PBS MATHLINE

MSMP Fantasy Baseball-Part 2 Lesson Guide http://www.pbs.org/mathline Page 2


Materials
Each Pair
0 Pack of Baseball Trading Cards
O Baseball Card Glossary (from Part I)
O Player Guidelines (from Part I)
O Statistical Guide (from Part I)
O Player Comparison Chart (from Part I)
O Player Analysis Charts ( 2 worksheets )
O How to Make A Player Wheel (Written Directions & Pictorial Model)
O Calculator
O Player Wheel materials: card stock scissors, markers, spinners (spinners can be
made by spinning a bobby pin around the pencil point)
Procedure
For the remainder of the unit, students should work in pairs, as co-managers of a
baseball team. Distribute a set of professional baseball trading cards to each of the
teams. Each team will need a name, so first have the co-managers decide on names
for their teams.
Once the names have been selected and recorded, the co-managers are to use the
data from each of the baseball cards in their pack to complete the Player Comparison
Chart. Instruct them to evaluate this information and based on these evaluations
decide which players they want to keep and which players they want to trade.
Remind them that they must have a player for each of the nine positions on the
team: pitcher, catcher, first baseman, second baseman, third baseman, shortstop,
right fielder, center fielder and left fielder.
When all of the co-managers have completed this evaluation process and have
made the decisions on who they want to trade, allocate appropriate time for the
trade talks. At this time co-managers make the necessary deals to obtain the players
they need/want to complete their nine player teams.
The next phase involves the completion of the Player Analysis Charts. One chart
should be completed for each player on the team. (There are 5 per page, so co-
managers will need 2 pages.) Specific instructions for computing the additional data
are included on the Statistical Guide sheet.
The co-managers first use this information to decide on the batting order for their
players. Suggest that they should think carefully about how to strategically position
PBS MATHLINE

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their players in the line-up, particularly their top hitters, to maximize the potential
for scoring runs.
Secondly, this information is used as the source of data for the player wheels. A
player wheel must be constructed for each player. Its construction is based on the
probabilistic outcome of a players performance each time he comes up to bat.
Generally when a player is at bat one of the following occurs: He either hits a single,
double, triple, home run, or he walks, strikes out, flies out or grounds out. The
player wheel is therefore divided into those eight sections. Based on the players
record last season, the number of times each one of these events occurred is
compared to the total number of times the player came up to bat. These ratios are
renamed to their decimal equivalents and are then converted to degrees. A circle is
then divided into the eight sections based on the number of degrees in each section.
Using a spinning device, the player wheel becomes a tool to be used when students
play the Fantasy Baseball games. (Instructions for constructing the player wheel are
provided on the "How to Make a Player Wheel" sheet. A pictorial model is also
provided.)
Students are finally ready to begin the Fantasy Baseball tournament. Provide a
model baseball diamond and four chips for each game. Co-managers will spin each
wheel in the order of their line-up and move their players (chips) around the bases
based on the label in the section where the spinner lands. During the games, they
must keep a record of the number of outs and the number of runs. Because of the
limiting features of playing a simulated game of baseball, stolen bases and certain
plays such as an on-base player advancing two bases from his teammates single, will
not be allowed
Depending on the amount of time you can devote to the tournament, you may
have to limit games to 2 or 3 innings. You may also want to divide the teams into 2
leagues where each team plays every team in its league. The team with the most
wins in each league will play each other in the Fantasy Baseball World Series.
Extensions & Connections
Have students investigate the role that mathematics plays in other sports such as
basketball, soccer, tennis and football.
If there are 20 baseball teams and every team played each other, and all of the
winners played each other, and these winners played each other, in total how many
games will have been played to determine the winner?
PBS MATHLINE

MSMP Fantasy Baseball-Part 2 Lesson Guide http://www.pbs.org/mathline Page 4


Resources
Scheidt, Tim. Fantasy Baseball, 1994. Giant Step Press. Solvang, California.
Ideas for Online Discussion
(Some ideas may apply to more than one standard of the NCTM Professional Standards for Teaching
Mathematics.)
Standard 1: Worthwhile Mathematical Tasks
0 Provide a brief overview of a thematic unit that you have used with your
students.
O From your experience, does the thematic unit concept provide the missing
structure needed to enhance the learning of the content?
Standard 3: Students Role in Discourse
O Fantasy Baseball provided numerous opportunities for students to try to
convince themselves, and one another of the validity of particular
representations, solutions, conjectures, and answers. (p. 45) Describe how
promoting and encouraging discussion and debate can enhance the student
learning and increase the level comprehension.
Standard 6: Analysis of Teaching and Learning
O How would you assess students knowledge of the mathematical content at the
conclusion of this unit?
FANTASY BASEBALL
Player Analysis Chart
(Examples)
Year 1991
Name
Cum.
AB
H IB 2B 3B HR BB SO
Other
Outs FO GO
Robin Ventura
686 172 123 25 1 23 80 67 367 183 184
RATIO
123
686
25
686
1
686
23
686
80
686
67
686
183
686
184
686
DECIMAL EQUIVALENT .1793 .0364 .0014 .0335 .1166 .0976 .2667 .2682
DEGREES 65 13 0 12 42 35 96 97
YEAR 1985
Name
Cum.
AB
H IB 2B 3B HR BB SO
Other
Outs FO GO
Willie McGee
646 216 162 26 18 10 34 86 310 155 155
RATIO
162
646
26
646
18
646
10
646
34
646
86
646
155
646
155
646
DECIMAL EQUIVALENT
.2508 .0402 .0279 .0155 .0526 .1331 .2399 .2399
DEGREES
90 14 10 6 19 48 86 86
PBS MATHLINE MSMP Fantasy Baseball-Part 2: Activity Sheet
Player Analysis Chart
Name
Cum.
AB H IB 2B 3B HR BB SO
Other
Outs FO GO
RATIO
DECIMAL EQUIVALENT
DEGREES
Name
Cum.
AB H IB 2B 3B HR BB SO
Other
Outs FO GO
RATIO
DECIMAL EQUIVALENT
DEGREES
Name
Cum.
AB H IB 2B 3B HR BB SO
Other
Outs FO GO
RATIO
DECIMAL EQUIVALENT
DEGREES
Name
Cum.
AB H IB 2B 3B HR BB SO
Other
Outs FO GO
RATIO
DECIMAL EQUIVALENT
DEGREES
Name
Cum.
AB H IB 2B 3B HR BB SO
Other
Outs FO GO
RATIO
DECIMAL EQUIVALENT
DEGREES
PBS MATHLINE MSMP Fanatasy Baseball-Part 2: Activity Sheet
FANTASY BASEBALL
How to Make A Player Wheel
Year 1991
Name
Cum.
AB H IB 2B 3B HR BB SO
Other
Outs FO GO
Robin Ventura 686 172 123 25 1 23 80 67 367 183 184
RATIO
123
686
25
686
1
686
23
686
80
686
67
686
183
686
184
686
DECIMAL EQUIVALENT .1793 .0364 .0014 .0335 .1166 .0976 .2667 .2682
DEGREES 65 13 0 12 42 35 96 97
A. Use a copy of the Player Wheel master or construct two (2) circles, 4
1/2" in diameter, on cardstock. Clearly mark the center point on the
circle.
B. Using your protractor as a straight edge, draw a radius anywhere in
your wheel.
C. Get out your completed Player Analysis Charts. Determine your
preferred order of placement for each statistical category. Using your
first category, construct the appropriate angle and draw another radius.
Label this section of your wheel with the correct statistical abbreviation.
D. Continue Step C until all of the angles have been measured and the
statistical abbreviations recorded on the wheel.
E. Write the player's full name on the back of the wheel.
F. Cut out the player wheel.
PBS MATHLINE MSMP Fantasy Baseball-Part 2: Activity Sheet
FANTASY BASEBALL
How to Make a Player Wheel
(Pictorial model)
A
B
1B
C D E and F
2B
GO
1B
SO
BB
2B
GO
1B
SO
BB
G H and I
C
H
I
C
A
G
O
W
H
I
T
E
S
O
X
Robin Ventura
Avg. 284
HR
Robin
Ventura
HR
PBS MATHLINE MSMP Fantasy Baseball-Part 2: Activity Sheet