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Teaching Resources

Integrating Pop Culture in the Classroom: The World Cup

Summer 2018 has not only been filled with sunshine, cookouts, and pool time but has also featured the return of soccer’s most beloved tournament: the World Cup. This year marked the 21st occurrence of the cup and included 64 riveting matches between the best 32 teams across the globe. Many may have caught your eye, as well as those of your students – it’s estimated that nearly half of the world tuned in to at least one match!

As part of our Integrating Pop Culture in the Classroom series (previous pieces feature Star Wars and The Incredibles) our sister company, Participate Inc. has created a collection of World Cup-inspired resources to help you score a goal as the new school year begins. Read on to discover how to delve into the geography, history, mathematics and language of soccer with your students, and recap the best of the sport’s biggest event. Not to worry; these tools are midfielder, goalkeeper and striker-approved.

Classroom connections

Map it out

The 2018 World Cup was played in 12 different venues across Russia. Use this interactive map to learn more about each arena’s location, capacity and history. Which is the smallest venue, as compared to the largest? How far is Luzhniki Stadium from Kaliningrad Stadium?

Master the game

For the newer football fans in the room, consult this nifty soccer guide. Generate math problems based on match timing guidelines, or facilitate a debate on what constitutes a red card.

Put the “world” in the World Cup

  • Imagine the World Cup wasn’t an athletic tournament, but instead compared countries based on average rainfall, the number of Starbucks per capita or rate of population growth. Review the breakdown with your students and discuss differences in resources, climate, consumption habits and more.
  • Create a World Cup project for your class, and assign students to research different nations. Learn about flags, capitals, currencies and exports, as well as review the best match highlights.

Take a closer look

  • Revisit the first ever tournament occurrence, held in Uruguay in 1930, and comb through the Cup’s history with this photo essay. Follow it up with a second collection of moving photos that capture the world’s undying love for soccer.
  • Ask your students: What do these photos communicate? Observe similarities and differences, the power of photography and how sport sparks unity.
  • Check out this interactive compilation featuring the World Cup’s top 100 footballers of all time. Have students learn more about past soccer stars, their contributions, their countries and their most famous moments.
  • Bonus: Get up close and personal with Ronaldo, Neymar and Iniesta in (extremely) slow motion.
  • Issue this fun quiz about ball placement and see if your class can guess where the shot meets the net.

Access this collection to snag more ideas on how to bring the best of the World Cup into your classroom. Lace up your cleats and be sure to stay tuned for more ways to integrate pop culture into your students’ learning.

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