Frequently Asked Questions

Author Dan Flockhart posts all content, unless otherwise noted.
We want the books to be contemporary. Athletes may quit playing for several reasons, so if real names were used, the books would not be current after a year or so. Obviously, this does not change the fact that students will select real players for their fantasy teams.
Fantasy Sports and Mathematics are math programs that are based on the popular fantasy sports games. The programs are for grades five and up (although several teachers are using them in grades three and four). The programs consist of a teacher resource guide and a student workbook for each of the four major sports: football, baseball, basketball, and soccer. Each teacher resource guide includes lesson plans, a pre- and posttest, student handouts, 46 practice worksheets, 46 matching quizzes, and examples of graphs and box scores (i.e., statistical recaps of games). In addition, the books contain step-by-step instructions on how to play the games, as well as over 100 scoring systems that allow the content to be customized according to the skill level of students. Each program addressees nine national math standards and over 50 national math expectations.
There are many aspects of fantasy sports that make for a perfect fit for students. First, the games promote a student-centered environment rather than a teacher-led classroom. Students can make trades, draft any players they wish, and decide on their starting lineups each week. This autonomy is something that adolescents crave, yet often don’t get much of. They control their teams, and they enjoy the feeling of power that comes with managing a franchise. This independence helps them to build their decision-making skills, thus contributing to their social and cognitive development.

Fantasy Sports and Mathematics can simplify the transition into the abstract world of algebra. Once students understand how to compute points using a non-algebraic method, teachers have the option of introducing linear equations that include variables. Fantasy sports are also dynamic hands-on programs. The inclusion of newspapers, technology, and graphing activities addresses all learning modalities. Several worksheets are designed to be used in conjunction with a graph so learning is maximized for learning-disabled students as well as visual learners. In addition, fantasy sports are compelling because they bring out students’ natural competitive instincts. Students are motivated to do the math because they want to find out how their teams performed compared to their peers. Moreover, the games are based on real-world data, and students can follow their players on television, in newspapers, or online. This allows them to make connections between math at school and math in the real world; research indicates that learning is facilitated when this occurs. Finally, if you ask students to name their favorite aspect of fantasy sports, they’ll tell you that it’s fun.
Any educational environment can benefit from fantasy sports. These include public and private schools, alternative schools, charter schools, home schools, after-school clubs, international schools, military schools, adult schools, Boys and Girls Clubs, YMCA, youth sports’ organizations, youth education programs, jails, and summer school programs, as well as developmental and math methods courses in higher education.
Some of the concepts addressed include ratio and proportion, area and perimeter, mean, median, mode, and range, and operations with fractions, decimals, and whole numbers. Additional concepts include functions, summations, factorials, positive exponents, negative exponents, area and circumference of circles, scientific notation, linear equations, absolute value, and data depiction, as well as several worksheets that deal with percentages. You can review the common core standards in more detail on this page.
Some of the concepts addressed include ratio and proportion, area and perimeter, mean, median, mode, and range, and operations with fractions, decimals, and whole numbers. Additional concepts include functions, summations, factorials, positive exponents, negative exponents, area and circumference of circles, scientific notation, linear equations, absolute value, and data depiction, as well as several worksheets that deal with percentages.
Some of the concepts addressed include ratio and proportion, area and perimeter, mean, median, mode, and range, and operations with fractions, decimals, and whole numbers. Additional concepts include functions, summations, factorials, positive exponents, negative exponents, area and circumference of circles, scientific notation, linear equations, absolute value, and data depiction, as well as several worksheets that deal with percentages.
Fantasy sports are empowering for girls. I was initially concerned the game would marginalize girls. However, once the game began I was pleasantly surprised because girls were as successful and had as much fun as boys. The girls got a kick out of being successful in fields that have traditionally been dominated by males. There are two facets to fantasy sports that promote equality. The first is the salary cap. Students are given imaginary money to purchase their players. In theory, if two students spend all of their money then the quality of their teams is equal. The second equalizer in fantasy sports is old-fashioned luck. Anything can happen in the world of fantasy sports and usually does.
I designed the programs to make them as user-friendly as possible, especially for teachers who don’t follow sports. As a result, the programs are comprehensive. Each teacher resource guide contains over 200 pages. The feedback I’ve received from teachers and parents is that the books are well-written and the programs are easy to implement in the classroom.
Yes, email support is available through this website and we are also developing some additional tools.
I taught middle school mathematics in the San Francisco Bay Area in the 1990’s. At that time, I had been playing fantasy sports for 10 years. I realized that in order to maximize student interest, I needed to use curriculum that students could actually relate to. I’ve always believed that sports statistics represent a powerful tool for teaching mathematics, and my intuition led me to believe that math and sports statistics could dovetail into meaningful curriculum that could engage and motivate students. Consequently, I developed fantasy sports curriculum and used it in my classroom. It was the most successful curriculum I used in 11 years of teaching math.

I wrote the first book (Fantasy Football and Mathematics) as part of a thesis project for a graduate degree at Humboldt State University in 2002. As part of the project, several teachers piloted the material, and I refined the program based on their feedback.
The response has exceeded my wildest dreams. Educators and parents throughout the U.S. and Canada have informed me that their students (and the students’ parents) love the games. Many teachers said they’ve never seen their students so excited about math, and several teachers report that fantasy sports has led to higher test scores, increased attendance, and more motivated students.
One of the tenants of my philosophy of education is that the most important outcome for students is to be lifelong learners. This outcome is easier if students can acquire a love (or at the very least, an interest) in the subject matter. This task is more attainable if students are able to make connections between math at home at math at school, and these connections are facilitated if curriculum is based on real-world data that can be linked to students’ previous experience.

This is particularly important for students in inner-cities, as their experiences don’t often match the content found in traditional math textbooks. I developed the programs from a social justice perspective, as my intention was to help motivate marginalized urban youth so they can help themselves to break out of the poverty cycle.
The dropout rate in our schools is staggering. Our first priority should be to get students to come to school. Once students are at school, they need to be motivated and engaged. Consequently, there needs to be more of a systemic focus on developing curriculum that links to students’ lives. I share the belief of many educators that the use of fantasy sports in learning environments can help to motivate students and increase attendance, thereby increasing the retention rate and possibly even saving lives by keeping students off the streets.
Get the parents involved. Some teachers are holding a “draft night,” in which parents and students draft teams together, make trades, and compute points for their teams for the first week of the game. This is a great way for students and parents to work together. Your fantasy game will be very successful once the parents are "on board" and understand how math concepts are applied to fantasy sports in the learning environment. Holding a draft night also helps to build community within the school. If you wish, you can get a couple of parents to organize the draft night for you.
Research indicates that students take more ownership of the material and are more motivated when they have their own consumable workbooks. The workbooks include all the copies that students will use, so there is no need to make copies from the teacher guide. Finally, workbooks alleviate the problem of students losing worksheets, quizzes, their fantasy roster, etc.
If students are confused it’s usually because they don’t understand how to read box scores or they don’t fully comprehend how to compute points for their teams. I would spend more time teaching students how to read box scores and/or compute points. Some of my students initially had difficulty computing points for their players, but as we entered the third week or so they began to master the process. If you can hang in there, your students will be rewarded with a rich learning experience.
Yes. For volume purchases contact:
Chris Hegg
Senior Account Representative K-12
John Wiley and Sons, Inc.
14352 Ridge Avenue
Orland Park, IL 60462
chegg@wiley.com
317-572-3068 or 800-356-5016
FAX 708-949-8332