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How Teachers Are Using Super Bowl to Get Kids Excited to Learn

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Photo of Hilary Dorr
Updated | 7 min read

February is buzzing with energy from Valentine’s Day to Mardi Gras, to the highly anticipated Super Bowl. In 2021, around 5.23 million people in the U.S. above the age of 6 were engaged in tackle football. Needless to say, American football is a huge part of American culture and society, and our elementary school students are just as plugged in as the adults.

With that in mind, we’ve been talking to teachers around the country about how they celebrate the Super Bowl in their classrooms. The big game may be on a Sunday night when kids are out of school, but many of you said you throw some football into the mix during the weeks leading up to the big game. Others said football comes into the classroom in the fall when students are engaged in PeeWee games and the high school football games are big news in the school district.

Our teacher team has put together some of our favorite ideas from teachers around the country — plus a few of our own — so you can feature this sport in your Morning Meetings or lessons before the big game.

Browse our entire U.S. Sports Collection for resource ideas beyond the football field!

When Is the Super Bowl?

Luckily for teachers, the Super Bowl is always on a Sunday! No need to worry about students being absent for this highly anticipated event (although we all know some will be dragging on Monday morning after a late night of watching the game with the family).

In 2023, Super Bowl Sunday will be on February 12 at 6:30 p.m. ET. The competing teams are the Kansas City Chiefs and the Philadelphia Eagles.

How Do You Explain the Super Bowl to Kids?

Many of your students may already be well acquainted with the Super Bowl as millions watch every year. But for those who aren’t, we offer this explanation: In simple terms, the Super Bowl is the National Football League’s (NFL) final playoff game which will determine the league’s champion.

While the NFL came into existence in 1920, the first Super Bowl wasn’t played until 1967 when the Kansas City Chiefs and the Green Bay Packers competed for the title in Los Angeles. These days the game is a reason for friends and families to get together to watch the football players compete and also to watch commercials that air for the first time on Super Bowl Sunday each year.

Celebrate the Super Bowl at School

The Super Bowl can be incorporated into many subject areas but digging deeper, sports have the ability to teach students many positive skills and life lessons that will go far beyond the classroom. Other than physical benefits, sports teach students how to:

  • Work hard
  • Set goals and work towards them
  • Respect and accept others
  • Be a good teammate
  • Win modestly and lose graciously

While throwing footballs inside the classroom isn’t terribly practical, you can celebrate the sport with these activities to elevate team spirit while learning simultaneously. Keep scrolling for fun ideas and activities to use with your class this year!

History of American Football

A short video about the history of American football may enlighten your most avid classroom fans and spark some interest in those that may not understand the sport yet. How did this sport get started? What makes it so popular today? Find out with some quick pre-planned visuals.

This other video even gets into the nitty-gritty of the sport’s rules and you can see how many students recognize the NFL theme song.

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

Perhaps the biggest takeaways we’d like students to learn from sports are teamwork and learning to be a good sport. Teamwork is a great discussion topic for students and a time for them to share with their peers how they’ve experienced teamwork in their own lives. Use a Morning Meeting session with prompts and questions such as:

  • What does teamwork mean to you?
  • How can you show good teamwork?
  • What makes a good team?
  • Are you a good teammate? Why or why not?
  • What makes a good team leader?
  • How do you use teamwork in and outside of school?

Encourage your students to think about teamwork throughout the year with a positive poster or active games for brain breaks!

Create a Sports-Themed Bulletin Board

Football-Themed Bulletin Board - Teach Starter

Photo courtesy of fourth-grade teacher Amber of Georgia. 

Georgia fourth-grade teacher Amber shared this fun football-themed bulletin board with us! You can create your own visual celebration of the Super Bowl with your superstar students represented by paper footballs.

Amber wrote each of her students’ names on individual footballs and used a green background to create a brightly-colored field. Put your students’ goal-setting practices to work by creating a similar bulletin board with footballs representing individual student goals or classroom goals you’ve set together as a class.

Reading Goals

Reading Touchdowns Football Bulletin Board - Teach Starter

Photo courtesy of Arizona third-grade teacher Alex D.

Arizona third-grade teacher Alex D. also created a football-themed bulletin board highlighting each student’s favorite book on a football. She even included the logo for her favorite football team, the NY Giants.

You can play off of this idea by setting class reading goals and placing the footballs closer and closer to the yard lines. Reward everyone with a pizza party or extra recess when they’ve reached 20, 30, 40, 50 etc. total books or pages read depending on their grade level.

Make a Paper Football

How to Make a Paper Football - Teach Starter

Get those little hands busy with some fun football origami. Our download includes step-by-step instructions which will help students learn to read and follow directions.

Once everyone has finished making their footballs, set up a makeshift goalpost in the classroom and let the games begin! These paper toys can also serve as interactive review tools for subjects such as math, science, and history.

Football Trivia

Use one of your Morning Meeting discussions for some fun trivia! It may be easier to have a trivia session after you’ve already explained the basics of football or have watched a short video with your class:

  • How long is an NFL stadium? (100 yards)
  • Can a Super Bowl game end in a tie? (No, there must be one clear winner)
  • How long is the NFL halftime? (12 minutes)
  • How many points is an NFL touchdown? (6 points)
  • Which team has the most Super Bowl titles? (The Steelers and the Patriots with 6 championships each)
  • Which city has hosted the most Super Bowl games? (Miami, Florida)

Teach Starter tip: Divide your class into teams and have them write down their answers on a sheet of paper. The team with the most correct trivia points wins!

Football Book Display

Football-Themed Library Book Display - Teach Starter

Photo courtesy of school librarian Julie Overpeck @greatlibrarydisplays and Arkansas library aide Clara Smith

School librarian Julia Overpeck found this awesome library display from Arkansas library aide Clara Smith. Her shelf presentation “Tackle a Good Book” includes titles such as Football Champ by Tim Green and Game Changer by Tommy Greenwald, complete with a real football helmet in the middle!

Check out some of these titles for young readers which tell stories through football from overcoming bullying to pioneering sports journalism for women:

Teach Starter Teacher Tip: If you have students who struggle to find joy in reading, see if they have an interest in football or sports and use those topics to find examples in the school library.

Multiplication Mystery Picture


Make math artistic and fun with a football multiplication coloring sheet. Students will watch their picture come to life as they solve various multiplication problems and color each square accordingly.

This downloadable worksheet is perfect for:

  • Guided math groups
  • Lesson warm-up
  • Fast finishers
  • Homework assignment

When your class is finished with their footballs, combine them all into a Super Bowl-themed bulletin board or classroom display!

Create Your Own Team

Hand Drawing Football Plays - Teach Starter

If you teach older students, why not have them create their own Super Bowl team? Break your class into small groups or let them choose their own and have them come up with a team name and cheer.

Take it a step further and encourage your students to draw their own logo and present their creations to the whole class. They can even include which artist they’d like to have sing at the imaginary halftime show.

Soccer vs. Football

Soccer Vs. Football Worksheet - Teach Starter

Students may question why American football is called “football” when the majority of the time the ball is being used with a player’s hands. This is a valid question!

Use these downloadable differentiated texts for students to compare and contrast the games of soccer and American football. This set focuses on the following:

  • Comparing and contrasting Soccer vs. American Football
  • Identifying facts and details
  • Organizing and recording information
  • Writing an informative paragraph

Need more football-related ideas for your class? Browse all our worksheets, games, and activities!


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