World Cup Math Problems And Investigations For Your School

For anyone that doesn’t know already, the World Cup is in full swing and this gives us the perfect chance to introduce some elementary school World Cup math problems into the classroom.

With 32 teams, 64 matches, and 736 players all forming a part of the world’s biggest sporting tournament, there is plenty of opportunity for intrepid mathematicians to get involved from their classrooms.

Ranging from mean, mode, and median to the measurements of a soccer field, in this blog we will be sharing some World Cup math problems and activities that you can use both inside and outside the elementary classroom.

The only question left is: which one will you kick off your lesson with?

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Soccer math activities for inside the classroom

Below are four different activities that will test students’ ability on a number of mathematical topics.

1. Recording all possibilities through soccer scores

This question will test students’ ability to consider all possible scores from a match that took place during the 2014 World Cup.

2014 world cup Math Question


Possible half time scores
All possible half time scores

2. Match the matches

For 2nd and 3rd grade:

England and Brazil have played fifteen times throughout their history, and the data below represents these matches.

Math Question - Brazil vs England

Two of the types of data above show the goals scored by England and two show Brazil’s goals.

Can you match the data to the teams, using these clues to help you?

• England scored 30 goals in total.

• England’s most frequent number of goals scored was 3.

• Brazil scored 30 goals in their 15 matches. They only had 1 match where they didn’t score any goals.


• England: Pictogram and tally chart

• Brazil: Table and bar line chart

For 4th and 5th grade:

Two soccer teams, England and Brazil, have played each other 15 times throughout their history.

4th and 5th grade soccer math questions

Two of the types of data above show the goals scored by England and two show Brazil’s goals.

Can you match the data to the teams, using the clues to help you?

• The mode number of goals scored by England is 3.

• The mean number of goals scored by England is one less than the mode.

• The median number of goals scored by Brazil is 2.

• The mean number of goals scored by Brazil is equal to the median number of goals.

• The mode number of goals scored by Brazil is 1 less than the mean number of goals scored by Brazil.


• England: Pictogram and tally chart

• Brazil: Pie chart and bar line chart

Is Field Day coming up soon? Find out 5 ways you can integrate it with Math while gaining the benefits of outside learning.

3. Average analysis

These two tables show the results from Group A and Group B at the 2014 World Cup.

Group A and Group B question
The results from Groups A & B at the 2014 World Cup

Using the image above, work out the answers to the following questions:

2014 World Cup Math Questions
The questions for the above table.


  1. 40
  2. The Netherlands
  3. Spain vs Netherlands
  4. Brazil vs Mexico
  5. Mean = 1.7, Mode = 0, Median = 1 

4. The England team – mean, mode and median

England Team Question
The England soccer team

Work out the answers to these questions based on the information above.

  1. Work out the mean age of the England team.
  2. Work out the mode age of the England team.
  3. Work out the median age of the England team.
  4. What is the total age of the players in the England team?
  5. Work out the total age of the players whose position is defense (DF).
  6. Work out the total age of the players whose position is midfield (MD).
  7. Work out the total age of the players whose position is forward (FW).


  1. 25.5
  2. 24
  3. 25
  4. 588
  5. 268
  6. 120
  7. 125

Soccer math activities for outdoors

As well as some tricky tasks for your class to tackle inside the classroom, here are 2 soccer-based activities you can do outside with your students.

1. Measuring a soccer field

A soccer field is made of a series of interconnected lines, and this gives you the perfect opportunity to practice your class’ measuring skills.

All you will need is a tape measure, meter stick, or trundle wheel and you can get your class to discover things such as:

What is the total length of all of the lines on a soccer field (in meters and centimeters)?

What is the area of the soccer field?

What is the circumference of the center circle?

What is the length of the field?

How many rectangles are there on the soccer field?

2. Scoring a goal using math!

This is a simple activity that can help visualize and reinforce halves, thirds and quarters among students.

What you will need:

• A soccer goal

• A few lengths of string

• A soccer ball

• An excited class!

How to execute the activity

Step 1:

To begin, you will need to cut lengths of string to break the goal up into halves, thirds, or quarters.

Step 2:

Now you will need to tie the pieces of string to the goal posts to break the goal up into the desired quadrants. Please see below for help.

 math outdoor activity

Step 3:

Label each quadrant with a number.

 math sector game

Step 4:

Get your class to line up behind the penalty spot and prepare to take a penalty kick each.

Step 5:

The fun begins! You will now need to shout out a number which corresponds to the quadrant you want the student who is taking the penalty kick to hit. Once they have taken their penalty kick, they will head to the back of the line to wait for their turn to come around again.

Fun twists on this activity

You can put a few fun twists on the game such as time limits for the whole class to make sure they have scored a goal in every quadrant, breaking the class down into teams, or even going in the goal yourself to make things a little more difficult!

However, if the weather doesn’t play ball and you are unable to get outside the classroom, take a look at this online fractions penalty shootout game or this World Cup Arithmetic puzzle by @alexbellos instead!

Let us know what your school gets up to throughout the World Cup, and share it by tweeting us on @thirdspacetweet!

If you still want to have fun but are looking for an alternative to soccer-based activities to do with your class, why not take a look at our 10 fun math lessons for elementary?

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The content in this article was originally written by a member of the content team Connor Whelan and has since been revised and adapted for US schools by elementary math teacher Katie Keeton.


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