The traditional soccer ball is the 10th Archimedean solid – a truncated icosahedron. But times are changing! I don’t think there is an actual mathematical term for the latest ball, the Brazuca. Here are some interesting facts collected by Maths Matters Resources to help you integrate the World Cup soccer ball into your maths sessions.

Did you know that the special Adidas Brazuca, the Brazil 2014 World Cup soccer ball, was tested for over 2½ years? This name is slang for “Brazil” and was selected by a vote of over 1 million Brazil football fans. It has the smallest number of panels (6 identical pieces) ever, making it a very efficient design. Small dimples give it an irregular surface to create better aerodynamics. It was tried out by over 600 of the world’s top footballers. The colours symbolize the wish bracelets worn in Brazil. The actual ball is made in Pakistan and they have orders to produce over 42 million balls.

Imagine how you can integrate these facts into your maths sessions. For example, how much money will be spent if each ball costs at least $100? How many official games were in the World Cup tournament? How many times might one ball be kicked during one game? What’s the longest distance a ball can be kicked?

What’s your estimate for the surface area of this ball in square metres? Square centimetres? Do all soccer balls have the same surface area? How heavy is a soccer ball? What’s your estimate of the mass in kg?

What about other World Cup soccer ball facts? You can challenge your students to work in teams to come up with their own 10 interesting facts about soccer balls.