Recommended age group: 11–14
Time required: 60 minutes (plus four 10 minute sessions on subsequent days)
Equipment: stopwatches, pencils, paper or notebooks, chalk or ropes.
This activity is ideally carried out over a number of PE sessions with an initial lesson of around one hour plus four ten-minute sessions during subsequent lessons.
- Ask students to think about how athletes train. Ask what they will be mainly doing right now (training), what they might to differently in the run up to a big competition and discuss why they need to train. The Google Hangout on ‘Sports Science’ gives some useful background on this, or take a look at an insiders guide to Team GB Rio 2106 training camp.
- Emphasise how exercise builds muscles and makes the body stronger and fitter. This leads to improved performance which is why athletes train daily. Explain how we can test this ourselves by doing a simple physical activity over a number of days, charting our individual performance. Note that the activity outlined below (line jumping) is just one example and that many physical activities can be used. Further suggestions for these are given below.
- Put the students in teams of three, with one stopwatch per group. The students will also each need a notebook or paper to record their performance. Take the class outside onto a hard surface and demonstrate the physical activity (or ask a volunteer to do it). This is called line jumping. You need to find a line such as a court marking or a join between paving slabs. A chalk line will also work. Stand with both feet together one side of the line (parallel to it) then jump sideways over the line with feet together. Jump back the same way and repeat. Explain that each student will do this for one minute and count how many jumps then can do in that time. Ask a volunteer to demonstrate and ask everyone to count.
- Students then carry out the activity in groups, with one person timing, one counting and one jumping. Take turns until all three have done each task – each student needs to write down his/her total with the date. If there are not enough stopwatches the teacher can time the minute calling start and stop. Each student only does the jump activity once.
- Back in the classroom each student records their results on the chart (on the Train to Win activity sheet 1). They then create a line graph and mark the results for that day. Ask students to predict what will happen as they repeat the activity over several days.
The activity is repeated each day that week over five days with the chart and graph filled in each time. If possible extend the investigation so students can further predict and test their performance.
When the graph is complete discuss the pattern of results: did everyone improve? Why? How does this relate to the GB athletes’ preparations the next Olympic and Paralympic Games? How does exercise affect the body and health? Were the predictions close? Why?
Alternative physical activities
Other activities that students can do instead of line jumping include: lifting a heavy object (such as a 2-litre plastic bottle of water) with one hand, press ups and sit ups. Teachers can match the activity to the abilities of their students or even ask students to come up with simple repetitive (or timed) activities that they can do. These can be recorded on Train to Win activity sheet 2.
Younger and less able students can be paired with others who can help them to record their data accurately. They can use the pdf graph template to chart their results.
Older and more able students can plot their own line graph on graph paper rather than use the template. They can also be asked to summarise the pattern of results in writing and verbally.
- Carry out the task for longer and see how the pattern continues.
- Students can further analyse their performance by generating means, medians and modes from the data.
- Let students devise their own physical challenge and carry out a similar test charting the results and analysing the pattern. Students considering studying GSCE PE or BTEC Sport could create an activity related to a particular sport to improve one of the health-related fitness factors: cardiovascular fitness, muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility, body composition, speed.