Just for Kicks

Have you ever kicked a ball as hard as you could? Can you imagine it flying over a couple of houses? That’s what happens every year in American football. Players have to throw or run this funny pointy ball to the other end of the field. If they make it to the end zone, they score 6 points for a “touchdown.” But they can also try to kick the ball between 2 yellow bars to score a 3-point “field goal.” So from how far away can the kicker kick the ball through those bars? That’s where the math comes in!

Wee ones: If the kicker kicks the ball through, then misses on the 2nd try, then makes the 3rd try, then misses the 4th…what do you guess happens on the 5th try?

Little kids: If a team scores all its points from 3-point field goals, could they have a total score of 10?  Bonus: The longest high-school football kick was 68 yards — longer than 2-3 houses in a row! But the longest college kick ever was 1 yard longer. How long was that kick?

Big kids: If you kick the ball right over your 30-foot house, how many yards long is that? (Reminder: A yard equals 3 feet.)  Bonus: If you have a big foot and can kick the ball 70 yards, how many feet would that be?

The sky’s the limit: If the best 10-year-old can kick the ball 36 yards and the best college player kicked that 68-yard kick, how far can you kick it if your distance is halfway between those?

Wee ones: The kick makes it.

Little kids: No, because 3s can’t stack up to add to 10 — you will get 9 or 12.  Bonus: 69 yards.

Big kids: 10 yards.  Bonus: 210 feet.

The sky’s the limit: 52 yards. 36 and 68 are 32 yards apart, so your kick will be half of that more than the 36, or 16 yards farther.

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