How West Ham fan Bobby Seagull is using football to make maths cool
West Ham United supporter and University Challenge star Bobby Seagull is using the Hammers as part of a new nationwide campaign to improve numeracy.
Maths teacher Seagull, who shot to fame on the popular BBC Two quiz show as captain of the Emmanuel College Cambridge team, joined forces with Countdown and Sky Sports presenter and mathematician Rachel Riley to promote the first-ever National Numeracy Day.
East Ham-born Seagull, who regularly uses the Hammers and football in his lessons to engage youngsters and promote their love of maths as a subject, is also working on a book entitled The Life-Changing Magic of Numbers which makes mention of his beloved football club.
“With my students, I often say to them, ‘You might like Marko Arnautovic or Chicharito, so can you compare their stats and work out their mean, median, mode average?” said Seagull, who is a National Numeracy Day ambassador. “You need a find a hook to get kids engaged and football and sport is one of them.”
“If we can engage with them at this level now, it will make them more confident when they are faced with future decisions which involve numbers, such as their finances.”
With my students, I often say to them, ‘You might like Marko Arnautovic or Chicharito, so can you compare their stats and work out their mean, median, mode average?
Riley agreed with Seagull, pointing to the Premier League Primary Stars scheme and eSports as areas where young people can improve their numeracy using football.
“I’ve been working Premier League Primary Stars, which has signed up 15,000 primary schools across the country to use football to teach maths,” Riley added. “It’s about getting the hook, making it relevant, giving it a real-world context and making maths and numeracy more fun!
“When I joined Sky Sports I quickly realised there's way more maths and numeracy in football than there ever is in Countdown.
“Anyone whose kids play EA SPORTS FIFA video games, they'll know that their kids know stats and how they can reel them off. They can remember things because they enjoy it, and then they get better.”