Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee Releases Sports-Themed Math Textbook

Tokyo 2020 recently introduced a new sports-themed math textbook to Japanese elementary students, hoping to help students to enjoy math through interaction with Japanese athletes and sports organizations. Within its first month of release, the textbook has already been given to over 100,000 Japanese elementary students.

Japanese Olympic gold medalist judoka Kaori Matsumoto and Paralympic bronze medalist swimmer Takuro Yamada helped introduce the book to Japanese students at a public elementary school in Tokyo on Monday, April 17th. Matsumoto won the Olympic gold medal in women’s judo (57 kg competition) at the London 2012 Olympics, meanwhile Yamada captured the bronze medal at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games in the 50 meter freestyle, competing in the S9 category.

Yamada state that he wanted to be involved with the textbook because “it’s a great way to promote Paralympic sport to many children. Children will play an important role livening up events at the Olympic and Paralympic Games. I believe that this is great initiative, allowing these children to enjoy learning.”

Since the book was first introduced in early April it has found its way into the hands of over 100,000 Japanese students at all 1,276 public elementary schools in Tokyo, as well as another 36,000 students at 588 schools in four other prefectures, per Tokyo2020.org.

The textbook was created with the help of Japanese Olympians and Paralympians, and features math problems related to 33 Olympic sports and 22 Paralympic sports. The Tokyo 2020 Education Programme “Yoi Don!” meaning “Get Set!” devised the creation of the textbook, and aims to get students to actively participate in other educational programs with ties to Tokyo 2020. The textbook also fits into the Action & Legacy Plan prepared by Tokyo 2020 organizers, and will be available to all local authorities in Japan, upon request.

Sample questions from the textbook include:

A gymnast’s height is 161cm. When he stretches his arms above his head, the distance from his fingertips to his feet is about 2m. See the above left image showing the athlete performing a giant swing on the bar, and determine the area of the circle.

And the followup:

The diameter of the gymnastic rings using by Kenzo Shirai, gymnastics gold medallist at Rio 2016 Games, is 18cm. Calculate the internal area of the rings.

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Mark Rauterkus

Thank goodness there are others picking up on this idea. We had such a plan for Sports Math books back in the 80s.

Hope one of you publishes a book called More On Math too!

About Reid Carlson

Reid Carlson

Reid Carlson originally hails from Clay Center, Kansas, where he began swimming at age six.  At age 14 he began swimming club year-round and later with his high school team, making state all four years.  He was fortunate enough to draw the attention of Kalamazoo College where he went on to …

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