News

Discovery Ed, EA SPORTS, NFL team up for math and science program

By Laura Devaney
November 16th, 2015

National program uses famed sports video game to ignite students’ interest in math and science

math-and-scienceEA SPORTS, the NFL Players Association (NFLPA), and Discovery Education have teamed up for a national educational program that taps into children’s excitement about football and video games to ignite a passion for math and science.

EA SPORTS Madden NFL: Football by the Numbers, a comprehensive educational initiative, is an initiative designed to engage students in grades 5-9 with science and math content through an interactive digital learning game.

The program also includes a virtual field trip to EA’s Tiburon development studio to meet the team behind the Madden NFL games and a local school community night featuring an NFL player, in addition to other learning tools.

A national survey from the Games and Learning Publishing Council about teaching with digital games found that 78 percent of teachers agreed digital games improved students’ mastery of curricular content and skills, and digital gaming helps to motivate students to attend class, pay attention and make stronger efforts to succeed. Madden NFL: Football by the Numbers will excite students about math and science by using a combination of famous Madden NFL highlights and plays by some of the League’s most recognizable players and additional compelling content from the series. The educational program takes students inside the science and math behind football fundamentals and teaches them how and why certain offensive and defensive plays work. The program will launch on December 1 and will be available at no cost to educators, parents and students worldwide at www.footballbythenumbers.discoveryeducation.com.

“This is an amazing new program to reach kids and engage them in math and science, and we’re excited to be a part of it,” said Anthony Stevenson, VP of Marketing for Electronic Arts. “We’ve always strived for Madden NFL to be a teaching tool for the sport of football, and now we’re marrying the art of the video game to the science behind our young fans’ favorite sport, teaching them both the fundamentals of the sport and the math that fuels it.”

The program consists of interactive scenarios that are broken down into three sections: Explore, Learn and Game Play. In “Explore,” students are introduced to football-related concepts, positions and strategies that relate to the game. Students then “Learn” about specific math and science concepts as they relate to various offensive and defensive strategies. Lastly, students will apply learnings during “Game Play.” For example, in the offensive scenario, after receiving a set of conditions of what is needed to execute a pass between NFL players Eli Manning and Odell Beckham, Jr., the student selects which type of pass is best for the play, and at what angle and velocity the ball should be thrown based on concepts explained in the earlier sections. The program keeps giving the student plays to run until he either scores a touchdown or uses three plays without gaining a first down.

Conversely, in the defensive scenario, students assume the role of defensive coordinator and are encouraged to use probability to make game-time decisions about what type of defense to use based on the yardage and downs of their opponents.

“Learning to love math and science has always been important, and even more so now as our world becomes more dependent on technology. Many of our players are passionate about these subjects, and through the Madden NFL: Football by the Numbers platform, kids will see that math and science can be fun and relatable,” said Ahmad Nassar, President, NFL Players Inc. “We’re proud to team up with innovators like Discovery Education and EA SPORTS to provide kids an extraordinary opportunity to learn and achieve results alongside their favorite players.”

“Discovery Education is thrilled to collaborate with Electronic Arts and the NFL Players Association to use game and play to reach students at a time when research shows their interest in math and science fades,” said Bill Goodwyn, President and CEO, Discovery Education. “Not only does Madden NFL: Football by the Numbers engage students in these critical subjects through interactive, dynamic content, but it shows them the real-world relevance of these classroom subjects.”

Discovery Education will also broadcast into thousands of schools a virtual field trip in the Spring of 2016 that will take students inside EA’s Tiburon development studio in Orlando, Fla., to meet the team behind the Madden NFL games that they love. The virtual event will showcase how engineers, animators, designers, analysts and producers work together on the Madden NFL series to bring the games to life and ignite emotion into sports. To learn more about the virtual field trip and the community night, please go to www.footballbythenumbers.discoveryeducation.com.

Material from a press release was used in this report.

About the Author:

Laura Devaney

Laura Ascione Devaney is the Managing Editor, Content Services at eSchool Media. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland's prestigious Philip Merrill College of Journalism. When she isn't wrangling her two children, Laura enjoys running, photography, home improvement, and rooting for the Terps. Find Laura on Twitter: @eSN_Laura http://twitter.com/eSN_Laura