NBA + Discovery Education = A Math Slam Dunk

There’s a lot more to mathematics education than memorizing formulas and equations. Discovery Education wants to show students that math is at work all around us — that includes all the action on the court.

We have teamed up with the NBA to create new, basketball-focused problems for Math Techbook, Discovery Education’s digital textbook series. These problems allow students to combine a passion for professional basketball with investigations into key math concepts. From these lessons, they’ll be empowered to create probability models showing how likely players are to make 2-point or 3-point shots, or calculate the timing of a slam-dunk takeoff.

“We are very excited to partner with Discovery Education,” said Todd Jacobson, NBA Senior Vice President, Social Responsibility. “Basketball can be a powerful learning tool and this curriculum will engage students with math in fun, creative ways.”

Our math team worked with the NBA to create problems that resonate with students. Using accompanying videos from the NBA, students will learn how math fundamentally relates to basketball scenarios, including lessons on variables, equations, and weighted averages.

Students will also be able to access a data tool that provides up-to-date player data, including historical data going back to 2013. Statistics in the tool include points, steals, assists, blocks, rebounds, wins, losses, effective shooting percentage, and more.

NBA Math Techbook Sample

The announcement was made Friday during a Jr. NBA clinic at John Hayden Johnson Middle School in Washington, D.C. (District of Columbia Public Schools) with special NBA and WNBA guests including Washington Wizards forward Daniel Ochefu; Washington Mystics point guard Ivory Latta; Washington Wizards legends Phil Chenier and Etan Thomas; Hall of Famer and NBA Cares Ambassador Bob Lanier; NBA legend and NBA Cares Ambassador Felipe Lopez; and NBA legend and NBA Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations, Kiki VanDeWeghe.

The new NBA questions are available now for school districts with Math Techbook. Four sample questions are also available for free online.


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  1. TVF said:

    Here’s a math problem for you. What’s the typical ratio of coaches to players in any sport at any level? What’s the ratio of teachers to students in the vast majority of public schools at any grade level? The answers are staggering as most ratios in sports hover around 1 coach to every 3-5 players. Schools? In my elementary school I have 26 kindergarten students to one teacher, with significant (and I mean significant need) for a great number of these students. If I were to tell the parents on my soccer team we were going to have 40 players this year, they would mutiny. Actually, the parents of my kinder basketball team are mad that we have 10 kids (not enough playing time or personal attention I think they say). When will parents mutiny over having 26 kindergarten students in a classroom or 43 6th grade students in a 6th grade Spanish class (yes, I actually had 43 students, some of whom sat on the counters as I did not have enough tables). College and professional sports have low ratios and access to ample resources for supports, yet schools don’t. Where am I going with all of this? My question to everyone one is, At what point and time are we going to have a real conversation about class size and it’s damaging effects? and more importantly, Why is this ok? The sports world has figured this out. Is it really necessary to tie math problems to sports or is this a semantic way of avoiding the real problem?

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