Sports Statistics


In this unit students are given the opportunity to investigate the sport of their choice, accessing statistics both through surveys and from the internet, and presenting their findings as graphs created on Excel. 

Achievement Objectives
S4-1: Plan and conduct investigations using the statistical enquiry cycle: determining appropriate variables and data collection methods; gathering, sorting, and displaying multivariate category, measurement, and time-series data to detect patterns, varia
Specific Learning Outcomes
  • plan an investigation;
  • use spreadsheets to display and analyse data
  • discuss features of data display
Description of Mathematics

This unit is a very open unit allowing students freedom to investigate a sport of their choice. It should be noted that not all sports have a great deal of easily accessible statistical data available. If you are not confident of your ability to find data on any sport, another unit may be more suitable, or you could restrict the choice of sports available.

This unit focuses on gathering statistics both through a survey and off the internet. Students will be discussing relevance of data, and ways to gather data. They will be presenting the results of their investigation on Excel. Microsoft Excel is a program available on most types of computers that allows data to be entered onto a spreadsheet and then analysed and graphed very easily. If you are unfamiliar with Excel there is information on using it available on this website (spreadsheet tutorial).

Required Resource Materials

Computers with access to Excel and the internet.


Session 1

  1. Students are told that they will be spending this week doing a statistics project on a sport of their choice. They will gather information from the internet, from their class and from the rest of the school. Ensure that the students understand that they will be making graphs of their findings.
  2. Brainstorm as a class what sports could be investigated. Minority sports or sports which generate few statistics are best avoided.
  3. Split the class into groups to investigate each sport. Groups of three or four are probably best, and it would not matter if two or three groups studied the same sport.
  4. Give the groups time to brainstorm what things they might want to find out about their sport. It is very important to emphasise at this point that they must think of questions that they have a way to obtain some data on. For example they could ask questions about who watches their sport, who plays it etc because they can survey the school to obtain the data. They could also ask a range of questions related to international sporting fixtures as the results of these are often easily accessible on the internet. While students are deciding on questions it is important for the teacher to circulate and provide support.
  5. As a class discuss the questions each group has come up with and ways to answer them. Focus the discussion on whether the results are obtainable and whether they could be presented as graphs.

Session 2

  1. Get each group to refer to their list of questions and decide which are best answered by surveying the school.
  2. Each group to generate a draft of a questionnaire for surveying the school.
  3. As a class discuss each group’s questionnaire and provide feedback on possible improvements. Focus the discussion on whether the questions will provide useful information for graphing.
  4. Groups to create a final copy of their questionnaire for use in the next session.

Session 3

  1. Groups to take their questionnaires and survey the rest of the school (as appropriate).
  2. On return to class each group is to present their data in tables (or similar) so that it can be entered into Excel spreadsheets.
  3. Students can enter their data into Excel once the teacher has checked it.
  4. Each group to produce a range of graphs of their findings. Most data obtained should be presented on either a bar graph or a pie chart.
  5. Bring all the groups together to share what they have done. Other students and the teacher can provide feedback on which graphs are best to represent each set of data. Focus discussion on strengths and weaknesses of different types of graph.
  6. Each group to select their best graph(s) to keep.

Session 4

  1. Groups refer back to their initial list of questions and see which ones are best answered either from the internet or from books.
  2. The bulk of this session is allocated to the students for researching statistics, some websites which may be helpful are listed below;
  3. At the end of the session come back together as a class and discuss the results obtained by each group.
    Have you found information to answer your questions?
    Can you put the information into graphs?
    What kind of graphs will you use?

Session 5

Bring all the students together with all their data and refer back to previous sessions;
What kinds of graph are best for which kinds of information?
What are the important things to remember about each type of graph?
Students given time to enter their data into spreadsheets and produce a range of graphs. Bring the graphs together and share with the class.

All of the graphs produced by each group could be made into a wall display with commentary added.