Fun Sports Day Maths Activities for KS2: Problem Solving in Context
Sports Day is a great opportunity for collaboration, celebration… and Maths! It’s one of those days that everyone remembers at school throughout their primary years. Hot (okay, often drizzly, weather), the nervousness of walking up to the sports field and the excitement of cheering on other competitors.
Here are our suggestions for some fun maths investigations you can do while preparing for and during sports day at KS2.
Before Sports Day
1. Buy & sell ice cream
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. Bonus: you can buy yourself a treat on a warm day while helping your pupils learn!
2. Estimation & predictions
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 whilst 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.
On Sports Day
3. Maths is all around us
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 tablets of where they see Maths during the day (you could give them a target, for instance of 5 photos) or they could write down where they see Maths in different sports events throughout the day by filling in a table. These photos/notes can then be discussed in class at a later date.
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4. Heading back out onto the track
Once the excitement of the day itself is over, it is the perfect time to get stuck into some Sports Day maths while the memory of the event is still fresh in pupils’ minds.
The running track presents the perfect opportunity to test out KS2 maths skills, and no matter the length of the one at your school, you will be able to ask pupils questions such as:
- How long is the track in meters and centimeters?
- How many times would you have to run up and down (or around) the track to run an Olympic 800m/1500m race?
- If a pupil is 128cm tall, how many times would they be able to fit laying down on the running track?
5. Seeing how the teachers compare to Usain Bolt
We know how competitive the teachers race can get on Sports Day, and when you have the full force of your class behind you cheering you on, anything could happen.
A fun task for your pupils could be to compare the times from the teacher race to the time set by Usain Bolt when he ran his famous 9.58 seconds world record 100m race.
Which teacher was the closest to reaching that time, and how far behind were they? (don’t worry, we’re not expecting miracles here.)
Bolt’s average speed in the race was 27.79mph, can your pupils work out your top speed too and see how it compares?
*If there is not a teacher race at your school, then this can be substituted for a parents race!
After Sports Day
6. Data led 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 total distance run by pupils throughout the day.
- 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.
7. 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 whilst presenting this information in an accessible and engaging way.
For examples of infographics, take a look at Mr Reddy’s blog on infographics here.
Do you have pupils who need extra support in maths?
Every week our maths specialist tutors support thousands of pupils across hundreds of schools with weekly online 1-to-1 lessons designed to plug gaps and boost progress. Since 2013 we’ve helped over 60,000 primary school pupils become more confident, able mathematicians. You can learn more about our interventions or request a personalised quote for your school to speak to use about your school’s needs and how we can help.