We were practicing problems for our TAKS test, and 2 funny incidents came up.
First problem: a baseball diamond has 60 feet between the bases. How far is it from home plate to 2nd base?
Some of the girls in my class indicated that they did not know what a baseball diamond looked like. Now we were working on the Pythagorean Theorem, so it had to be a square ... but they didn't know the layout of the bases. We discussed it. Then, being a good teacher (cough), I wanted to link it to something, so I asked if they'd heard about boys getting to 1st base, etc. But I digress; the point is that if we hadn't happened upon this practice problem, and they got it on their exam, they may get it wrong not for not knowing the math, but for not knowing baseball.
Second problem: What information do you need to figure out to know how much material is needed for a basketball? (surface area? volume? ....)
I thought this was obvious (surface area), but then a child asked me why it wasn't volume. I started to explain, and then she said, "oh! there's no stuffing inside?" I'd never thought of that, and explained that it was just air inside. Then I thought about it. There are sports balls that have stuffing inside (baseballs, softballs, ...). We could think of 3 more in addition to those 2 when we brainstormed. Anyway, ARGH sports problems and non-sports people!