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Addition & Subtraction Cards

Flash of Inspiration
MLB Math Cards Connect Students with the Stars
June 17, 2008

In the good old days, what math teachers were unable to drill into the heads of their thick-skulled students, the backs of bubble gum cards often did. Indeed, there was a time when a nation of nine-year-olds could convert two-sevenths into 28.6% not because they were precocious savants, but because they knew that two hits in seven at-bats gave you a .286 batting average. Where have you gone, Manny Sanguillen?

Two generations after the fact, the American educational market is rediscovering the teaching and motivational virtues of sports—and the results are finally beginning to find their way onto retail shelves. Among the leaders in this trend is Sports Equation, maker of Major League Baseball Math Word Problem Cards.

Sports Equation on the Shelves

The product debuted at the Sports Licensing & Tailgate Show in January and is shipping this summer. Major League Baseball Math Word Problem Cards are designed in a familiar flash-card format, and depict a star player from each of the 30 big-league clubs. The fronts feature a “batting practice” math question to warm up the brain, and the backs have five word problems (ranging in difficulty from single to grand slam) that relate to the players’ statistics.

The content was developed with and reviewed by educators and curriculum experts, while the cards themselves were the brainchild of Sports Equation president Andy Mendelson. If Mendelson’s name has a familiar ring it’s because he did a stint at Fleer as VP of Sales and Upper Deck as it Director of Sales. Cardboard has been good to Andy (“it was the greatest gig on the planet”), and now he is looking to give something back.

Multiply & Divide Cards

“I always wanted to teach,” he says. “I’ve always had a love of numbers and a passion for sports. This was a way for me to fulfill my passion for sports and education. Sports is all numbers—what we’ve done at Sports Equation is leverage the intense interest young fans have for their favorite teams and players, and make that a reason to sharpen math and reading skills. The bottom line is that if something’s fun, kids will practice and want to learn more.”

The concept for Sports Equation came from Mendelson’s daughters, who enjoyed doing basic baseball word problems with Dad. He knew that teachers were looking for imaginative ways to engage students, and that children were underperforming in math. With his background in the licensed sports card business, Mendelson saw an opportunity to create a product that provided high-interest educational material to an underserved market.

Andy with Samantha & Sarah

“There is not a tremendous amount of educational products in the licensed sports realm,” he says. “Sports Equation not only leverages the bond between kids and sports, but also between children and their parents.”



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