Football: The beautiful game


Football: The beautiful game

Swanscombe Tigers are preparing for a big match... Can you help them analyse and improve their training, ball passing and penalty-taking skills?


Football: The beautiful game

is based around video clips of the Swanscombe Tigers youth football team as they train and prepare for a game. There are three activities: pre-match training, passing the ball and penalties. Each activity provides opportunities for pupils to demonstrate their competence in using key mathematical skills and processes, and to encounter a range of curriculum content.

Mathematical content

The activities are aimed at pupils working at NC levels 4 to 7 and beyond. Because the tasks are relatively open, they will be accessible to pupils at different levels of attainment, with appropriate guidance from the teacher.

The tasks are desigined to cover a wide range of Key Concepts and Processes. Each activity includes video and real-life data, giving pupils the opportunity to grapple with realistic problems and decision making. Since there is no single correct answer, pupils are required to justify their own answers or decisions. Specific mathematical content includes similar triangles, 2D and 3D shapes, loci, speed, distance and time, units angles, probability and statistics. Detailed curriculum coverage notes are provided in the teachers' guide for each activity.

Organisation and pedagogy

This Case Study comprises three activities, each designed to take approximately 60 minutes. After a whole-class introduction, most of the lesson is spent working in groups of 2 or 3 sharing a computer. At the end of each lesson, the groups report back to the class in a plenary session.

Although there are suggestions within the Teachers' notes on how to proceed with each activity, pupils should be encouraged to seek their own approaches and solutions where possible, thus giving them greater ownership of the task as well as increased cognitive challenge.

Resources provided

This Case Study is presented as a browser-based application containing a collection of printable and ICT resources, including:

  • Overview -– for teachers – read this first, as it contains more details than this summary.
  • Teachers' notes –- with lesson plans – for each of the three activities.
  • Videos -– which present the activities.
  • On-screen tools -– to help pupils investigate the problems.
  • Pupil worksheets –- to print and hand out.

Resource requirements

(including hardware & software)

  • The teacher will need a computer with data projector (or interactive whiteboard), sound output and speakers. The software is suitable for a Windows PC or an Apple Mac.
    Note that at the time of writing the download version is not working with Apple Safari - Mac users should either run the software online or use an alternative web browser such as Chrome or Firefox.
  • Each group of 2-3 pupils will require a computer and access to the software. If this is not possible, some parts of the activities could be used on a projector/whiteboard with a whole class.

The software can be run directly from the Bowland Maths website, or you can download the case study and copy it to the computer(s) you will be using during the lesson, or to the school network.

The computer will need a modern web browser with Adobe Flash Player installed. Windows users will also need Adobe Reader to view and print resources. These are both available for free download from

  • Each pupil, or group of pupils, will need a printed copy of the work sheets.
Note: When printing PDF files, please make sure that 'page scaling' is set to 'none', 'no scaling' or '100%' to ensure that diagrams are printed to scale.