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http://www.pbs.org/mathline Page 1

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

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

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?

PBS MATHLINE

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

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

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

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

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

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