Olympic Cycling


Olympic Cycling

Pupils interpret and apply data through devising questions (and answers) relating to lap times in a cycling race.

Practical details

National Curriculum levels 3 to 6
30 minutes
Paper and perhaps a calculator

Key Processes involved

Pupils identify appropriate questions
They devise and produce answers for their questions
Communicating and reflecting
They present their work so that others can follow their reasoning

Teacher guidance

You may wish to set the scene by briefly introducing the context as follows and by showing a short video that gives highlights of the race that this task relates to. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=skAaRP6UdiA

  • In the 2008 Olympics, there was a cycling race called the men’s team sprint. Great Britain won gold, France won silver and Germany bronze.
  • You are given the lap timings for each team. Your task to think of two questions about this data, write them down and answer them. Think of different types of question, but make sure they show how good you are at mathematics. Try to think of questions that are not the obvious ones.

The task requires calculations involving time and distance.

In trials, there was a tendency for some lower level pupils to write only basic questions, eg ‘Which team had the fastest lap?’ Encourage exploring less obvious aspects of the data.

During the work, the following probing questions may be helpful:

  • What sort of questions might a sports commentator ask using this data?
  • Are your questions realistic?
  • Are your questions different - do they show your mathematical ability?

Some of the data is analysed for teachers in the Annex to the teacher guide.