Recommended age group: 7–11
Time required: 60 minutes (plus four 10 minute sessions on subsequent days)
Equipment: stopwatches, pencils, paper or notebooks, chalk or ropes, motivation Get Set Hangout (optional).
This activity needs to be carried out over a week with an initial lesson of around one hour plus four ten-minute sessions on subsequent days so it is best started on a Monday.
- Ask pupils 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 Get Set Hangout on ‘Sports Science’ gives some useful background on this.
- 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 week, 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 children in teams of three, each with a stopwatch if possible. The children will also each need a jotter 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 child will do this for one minute and count how many jumps they can do in that time. Ask a child to demonstrate and ask everyone to count. This is just one example and alternative suggestions are given below.
- Children then carry out the activity in groups, with one person timing, one counting and one exercising. Take turns until all three have done each task – each child 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 child only does the exercise activity once.
- Back in the classroom each child records their results on the chart (on the Train to Win activity sheet 1). They then fill in the graph for that day.
The activity is repeated each day that week over five days with the chart and graph filled in each time. Before this, ask pupils to predict what they think will happen.
When the graph is complete discuss the pattern of results: did everyone improve? Why? Were the children’s predictions right? How does this relate to the GB athletes’ preparations for a big competition? Why is exercise important for health and wellbeing?
Alternative physical activities
Other activities that children can do instead of line jumping include: lifting a fairly 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 children or even ask pupils 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 children 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 children can plot their own graph on squared 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 if the pattern continues.
- Let children devise their own physical challenge and carry out a similar test, charting the results and analysing the pattern. Results can be recorded on Train to Win activity sheet 2.