Cover image: FIFA World Cup in Brazil

FIFA World Cup in Brazil

The FIFA World Cup 2014 kicks off in Sao Paulo on Thursday 12 June (9pm UK time), when five-time world-champions Brazil will face 1998 semi-finalists Croatia. It's a global event costing billions to stage, celebrating the world's most popular sport. There will be 32 teams competing, representing every continent, and sparking national passions, pride and anguish.... So all-in-all a great opportunity to explore a range of global issues in class! (In addition, this work can support the new 2014 Geography curriculum, and the focus on South America.) The following International NGOs have all produced teaching resources: The Geographical Association suggests a range of activities for Key Stages 2, 3 and 4. The International Primary Curriculum has an IPC World Cup 2014 Resources website with content provided by IPC schools around the world. The National Literacy Trust has produced resources for teachers to use the World Cup to encourage reading for pleasure, including Foul Play Brazil - an original World Cup story by Tom Palmer. There is a wide range of resources on the TES website: World Cup 2014 The New York Times Learning Network has some teaching ideas too: Soccer Fever: Learning About the World Cup in Brazil For a whole wealth of ideas, check out Larry Ferlazzo's blog: The Best Sites For Learning About The 2014 World Cup In Brazil Did you know that there is a Women's World Cup planned for 2015? Visit the Gender Respect Project for an activity sheet with teaching ideas around gender in football.

The teams, the mascot and the ball...

You can find out about all 32 teams playing this year, and how they got their nicknames, here: The Nicknames of All 32 World Cup 2014 Teams. There are also some great posters for each of the teams designed by Brazilian artist Cristiano Siqueira. Each World Cup has a different mascot - this year the mascot is a three-banded armadillo called Fuleco (combining the words 'futebol' and 'ecologia'). Conservation groups in Brazil are challenging FIFA and the government to do more to protect the animal. Find out more about World Cup mascots over the years. There is also a new ball designed for every World Cup. The New York Times has a nice interactive: The Evolution of the World Cup Ball and The Guardian examines the physics behind the Brazuka (the ball designed for Brazil 2014).

eventopompeia2014didatico - Picture by Paulo Ito - click to view on FlickrPoverty and human rights issues

Amnesty International has expressed concern that rights to freedom of expression and peaceful protest are currently under threat in Brazil, People have been evicted to make way for construction works, and there have been heavy-handed police responses to protests including protests by Brazil's tribal people. This picture, painted by Brazilian street artist Paulo Ito, went 'viral' in early May. The image of a starving child with nothing to eat but a football strikes a chord with many who are angry at the high cost of staging the World Cup in contrast to a lack of investment in public services and housing. The Day (news website for schools) has some articles with ideas for exploring these issues in class: Brazil braced for more World Cup protests and Rio rocked by riots in run-up to World Cup. It also considers the 'legacy debate' around major sporting events. This BBC News feature is also interesting: Favela life: Rio's city within a city - explore Rocinha, Rio's largest 'shanty town' or favela with six of its residents (including a ride by moto-taxi). You could finish off your lesson by exploring how football is a global 'lingua franca' - a great way to start a conversation in another country is to ask someone who their favourite team or player is. Or even invite them to a game of table football like these players in Ethiopia and Chile (click on the pictures for larger versions):
National Sport, Ethiopia. Photo by Carsten ten Brink, click to view on University life, Chile. Photo by Francisco Osorio, click to view on Flickr
How are you using the World Cup to teach about global issues? Let us know in the comments box!
The photo at the top of the page is Art Football by Rodrigo Vieira on and used under a Creative Commons licence.