Soccer fans have waited more than four years for the world’s biggest tournament: the World Cup. Starting on November 20, thirty-two teams from across the globe will meet in Qatar to determine which country takes home the World Cup trophy. With more than one billion people tuning in to the 2018 World Cup final, this year’s tournament will be closely followed by millions, and probably some of your students, too!
For the first time, the World Cup is being held in the Middle East and in the winter, due to Qatar’s scorching temperatures in the summer. Qatar is the smallest country to ever host the tournament, so all eight stadiums are within an hour drive of one another. An expected 1.5 million fans will travel to watch the matches in person.
The World Cup is a great opportunity to tie in academic skills, global learning, and students’ interests. Help your students learn about different countries and cultures through the fun and excitement of the World Cup!
Study the countries and cultures represented at the World Cup
With countries all over the globe participating in soccer’s biggest tournament, there is so much potential for your students to learn about new cultures. Find out which countries have qualified to play in the World Cup, and ask students to pick one of the countries they have never been to, or maybe never heard of.
Ask students to research their chosen country, in groups or individually, turning the facts and information they find into infographics using a tool like Canva. Each student or group can present their findings to the class so that everyone can learn something about the countries represented at the World Cup.
This is also a good opportunity to learn about the host country. Qatar is an independent emirate occupying a desert peninsula. Students can learn about Qatar’s government, laws and customs, religion, and economy. Some of Qatar’s laws and policies have sparked controversy ahead of the World Cup over concerns about human rights violations. You may decide to have a respectful discussion about these issues with older students.
Have students plan their own World Cup
Qatar was picked to be the 2022 World Cup host in 2010. Countries spend many years and billions of dollars getting ready to host the tournament. Usually, countries build or renovate multiple stadiums, build hotels and lodging, and improve public transportation.
Have students work in groups to plan their own World Cup. Students will examine things like infrastructure, logistics, budgets, transportation, and lodging for teams and fans. You could assign students a country to plan their World Cup, or ask them to pick a country based on existing factors that they think would make it a good location for the tournament. Ask students to study the potential impacts of hosting the World Cup—the creation of jobs, environmental concerns, and displacement of people, among many other considerations.
Once students have investigated what it takes to host the World Cup, ask them to discuss whether or not they think it is a positive overall for the host country and why.
Test students’ soccer and World Cup knowledge
For a fun and easy activity, have students use this interactive quiz to test their knowledge about the World Cup to win their own trophy. Or use this FIFA Men’s World Cup quiz you can take together as a class.
Students can also learn new vocabulary by watching live matches or clips of matches. Ask students to listen to the commentators and write down words and terms they hear that they are unfamiliar with. Then, students can look up the definitions on their own or you can do this as a class. If you are in a dual language classroom, you could do this activity in the target language.
We hope you and your students have fun following the World Cup over the next month! For even more ideas, check out our blog post from the 2018 World Cup with relevant resources that you can apply to this year’s tournament.
How will you incorporate the World Cup in your classroom? What are your students excited to learn about? Let us know on social media using #UnitingOurWorld.