Recommended age group: 7–11
Time required: one 60 min session
Equipment: tennis rackets and balls, stopwatches, pencils, clipboards.


  1. 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.
  2.  Students record their first timed attempts, with group members taking turns at timing, bouncing and writing down the results.
  3. Once every student has recorded one timed go, let the class have 5–10 mins to practise the skill.
  4. After 10 minutes each group can record a second timed go. Students then return to the classroom to analyse the results.
  5. 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?
  6. Students can then work independently through the worksheet. Questions are grouped so that different ability levels can tackle different tasks as appropriate. Discuss the benefits of displaying data as a graph (seeing the results at a glance).
  7. Students who have finished can 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:
    • Compare using the left and right hand.
    • Think of a new tennis activity – how can children compare standing and sitting tennis, for example, to get an idea of what wheelchair tennis might involve?
    • 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.


  • Find the class average and graph the results.
  • Some students will be able to make estimates for their improvement with more practice and plot the results on a line graph to show individual improvement over time.