Have you ever had the opportunity to size yourself up to larger-than-life professional basketball players? Every time I visit the Amway Center, home of the Orlando Magic, I make sure to stop by the displays of the actual-sized players just to put into perspective the incredible difference in our sizes.
This weekend, my family had the opportunity to compare our admittedly average statures to the world famous Harlem Globetrotters. I couldn’t help but snap this picture of 6-year-old Rayni against Globetrotter’s Hi-Lite.
To no one’s surprise, my math mind started spinning as I thought of ways to take advantage of this silly #MathMoment.
“He’s like a giant!” Rayni exclaimed as I showed her the picture on our way home from the game. “I look so tiny!”
“You do look pretty tiny compared to Hi-Lite!” I giggled. “I wonder how much smaller you are than he is. How would we even figure that out?”
During the 45-minute drive home, we grappled with figuring out the difference in arm span using the ruler provided in the backdrop. We questioned how much taller he was than Rayni and realized more information was needed. After a quick Google search, we found that Hi-Lite stands at an impressive 6’7″ while Rayni has a petite height of 46″. Even though my first grader needed some help converting feet to inches, the underlying concept stayed constant throughout. She understood that we’d have to use subtraction to find the difference, that making a larger number by combining the two amounts would not be reasonable, and that the difference in inches should be pretty significant, evidenced by the event’s picture.
By the time we got home, Rayni was smiling from ear to ear, proud of herself for not only getting four Harlem Globetrotters’ signatures on her new basketball, but also for pushing through a challenging, real-world question. What she lacked in size, she made up for in her determination to fuse math with entertainment rather than allow this precious knowledge to stay within the walls of her classroom.
ELEVATE YOUR GAME
Feel free to use Rayni’s Globetrotter picture with your child or student! She’d love to know how she contributed to your math conversations. You can even take it a step further by using this picture of 7-month-old Oliver at the game. What #MathMoment questions can you come up with?