Five sizzling Sports Day activities

Sophie Waterman-Smith

Sophie Waterman-Smith is part of the Maths specialists team at Third Space Learning helping to deliver one-to-one tuition through an online platform of lessons for KS1 and KS2. Real tutors teach over 3,500 UK primary pupils a personalised Maths lesson every week, focusing on building confidence and accelerating progress, as well as raising attainment. Those looking for more information on Third Space Learning, or to see how they can help raise attainment and create confident mathematicians in their school, book in your free demo today.

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Originally published on 1st July 2016. Originally published on 1st July 2016.

Sports Day is one of the most anticipated days of Primary school, giving us fond memories of hot weather and a whole day of outdoor activities. Very few would associate Sports Day with a Maths lessons... until now! Pupils have the chance to think about the Maths in every aspect of life, and Sports Day is no exception.

Before Sports Day

1) Buy & sell ice creams

Get your pupils to start off by surveying the types of ice creams (or flavours) other pupils like to eat. They can then use this information to estimate how many ice creams they need to purchase to sell at Sports Day in order the make a profit, and work out how much they can buy/sell them for. And yes, get them to actually sell some ice creams if the weather is good and they can then follow up this work after Sports Day with working out their profit and drawing graphs of the most popular ice creams.
2) Estimation & discussions
Whether it is in pairs, groups or with the whole class, discussions are a key part of Mathematical learning for pupils and a great way for children to engage with one another while listening to each other’s opinions.
Ask your pupils prompting questions to initiate discussions, such as:

  • Why do runners start their race at different starting points on the sports field?
  • Estimate how much distance is between number 1 and number 8 starting points on the sports field.
  • How long do you think it would take a Year 4 pupil to run the 200m race? A Year 6 pupil to run the 200m race? Why is there a difference between their estimations?

If they have pair or group discussions, come together as a class afterwards and lead a consolidating class discussion to hear everyone’s opinions. If the class can come to some conclusions at the end of the discussion, after Sports Day, they could then compare their predictions with what really happened as well.

During Sports Day 

3) The events themselves
During Sports Day, there can be a lot of waiting around for competitors in between races and results. Why not make this a learning opportunity for your pupils? They could take photos on IPads of where they see Maths during the day (you could give them a target, for instance, of five photos) or they could write down where they see Maths in different sports events throughout the day by filling in the table below. These photos/notes can then be discussed in class at a later date.

After Sports Day

4) Class activities

There are lots of engaging class activities that can be completed after Sports Day is over, even better if these activities include personal data that the pupils have collected themselves or can relate to.

Activities to try out with your class could be:

  • Comparing average race times between houses within the school or between heats.
  • Ordering race times involving decimals.
  • Working out the area and perimeter of your sports pitch or long jump pitch.
  • Working out how many degrees are in a javelin or shot put pitch.
  • Drawing graphs of race times or any other great data your pupils have collected.

5) Sports Day infographics

A great summer term activity is always to design a nice colourful poster, but why not make this poster more academically related as well as cross-curricular? Infographics provide more in depth information for presentations while presenting this information in an accessible and engaging way.

Do you bring specific subjects into Sports Day? Let us know in the comments below!

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