Hagen started teaching math at Foothill High School in January. Faced with the challenge of motivating a group of students who face real-life challenges after the final bell, he sought something beyond traditional math textbooks to help him break through. To the surprise of his students, and many of his colleagues, Hagen's solution to real-world problems turned out to be fantasy football.
The idea is strikingly simple. Just as in normal fantasy football leagues, Hagen's math students draft a team at the beginning of the fall semester, make trades with classmates, pick different starting lineups each week and compete against one another for total points. But in order for the students to add up their fantasy points each week, they have to first plug their football statistics into mathematical formulas. They can't figure out their total points, or their classmates' points, until they first do the math.