Recommended age group: 7–11 (KS2)
Time required: one 60 min session
Equipment: Bounce Stats activity sheet, tennis rackets, tennis balls, stopwatches, pencils, clipboards.
Does practise make perfect? In this activity, students will use mathematical and statistical knowledge to investigate how practising tennis skills can improve performance.
Pupils will be able to:
- interpret and present data using bar charts and line graphs
- ask and answer questions about totalling and comparing categorical data
- calculate and interpret the mean as an average
- gather and record data to help answer questions
- develop control and balance in their tennis technique.
- Divide students into groups.
- Introduce the challenge: ‘How many times can you bounce the ball on the ground using the racket in 10 seconds?’ Demo the action and allow students to briefly attempt the task to ensure understanding.
- Ask students to record their first timed attempts, with group members taking turns at timing, bouncing and writing down the results.
- Once every student has recorded one-timed go, let the class have 5–10 mins to practise the skill.
- After 10 minutes each group can record a second timed go. Return to the classroom to analyse the results.
- Start to analyse the results as a group, investigating simple questions first:
- How can the results tell us if people improved with practice?
- How many people did better on the second go? How many scored less?
- How can we find out if your group improved as a whole?
- How can we find out if the class improved as a whole?
- How can we represent the numbers so we can see the results easily?
- Following class discussion, ask students to work independently through the worksheet. Questions are grouped so that the activity can be adapted for groups to tackle different tasks as appropriate. Discuss the benefits of displaying data as a graph (e.g. seeing the results at a glance).
- Encourage students who have finished to think about how they could extend the investigation. There are two blank columns in the worksheet’s results chart – what could these be used for? For example:
- Repeat the activity using a non-dominant hand or comparing the left and right hand.
- Repeat the activity from standing and sitting positions, or compare different surfaces outdoors and indoors.
- What other tennis skills can the class have a go at and improve? For example, bouncing the ball on the racket, or hitting a ball against a wall or target.
- Time permitting, ask students to run their new experiment, or try at home/during break.
- Find the class average and graph the results.
- Some students will be able to estimate and plot their estimated improvement over time (with more practise) on a line graph.