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 using technology. 

Specific Learning Outcomes
  • Pose investigative questions.
  • Plan for data collection.
  • Gather and collate data.
  • Use technology to display and analyse data.
  • Discuss features of data displays.
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 using appropriate technology.  This could include using CODAP, online survey forms and spreadsheets. See Travel to school and Measuring up for further information on using technology to analyse data.

Opportunities for Adaptation and Differentiation

The learning opportunities in this unit can be differentiated by providing or removing support to students and by varying the task requirements. Ways to support students include:

  • the type of data collected; categorical data can be easier to manage than numerical data
  • the type of analysis – and the support given to do the analysis
  • providing pre-prepared graph templates to support developing scales for axes
  • providing prompts for writing descriptive statements
  • teacher support at all stages of the investigation
  • extending into comparison and relationship investigative questions.

The context for this unit can be adapted to suit the interests and experiences of your students. For example:

  • the statistical enquiry process can be applied to many topics and selecting ones that are of interest to your students should always be a priority
  • this unit focuses on a health and physical education interest around sport and physical activity, this could be changed to another context related to another subject area or another context for health and physical education.
Required Resource Materials
  • Computers with access to 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 the data they collect.
  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 ideas that they have a way to obtain some data on. For example, they could explore who watches their sport, who plays it etc because they can survey the school to obtain the data. They could also find information related to international sporting fixtures as the results of these are often easily accessible on the internet. While students are deciding on ideas to explore it is important for the teacher to circulate and provide support.
  5. Students interrogate the ideas they have come up with and pose investigative questions to explore about their given sport. See Travel to school for further information on developing investigative questions, including interrogating ideas for exploration.
  6. As a class discuss the investigative questions each group has come up with and ways to answer them. Focus the discussion on whether data are obtainable and how the data could be presented.

Session 2

  1. Get each group to refer to their list of investigative 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. See How much bullying and Travel to school for ideas on this.
  3. As a class discuss each group’s questionnaire and provide feedback on possible improvements. Focus the discussion on whether the survey questions will provide information to answer their investigative questions.
  4. Groups to create a final copy of their questionnaire for use in the next session.
  5. It may be useful to create an online questionnaire and to potentially combine the different groups questionnaires (this would depend on how many survey questions they have).  Paper questionnaires may also be needed for classes that do not have access to computers and the internet.

Session 3

  1. Groups to go to each class (that will be involved) and explain what they are doing and why they are doing it (purpose). They can take their questionnaires (paper copies) if required, or give the link to their online survey form (as appropriate).
  2. On return to class paper questionnaires need to be entered into the online survey form.
  3. The data needs to be downloaded into a spreadsheet and then imported in CODAP or similar software.  CODAP works with raw data where each respondent’s data is in a single row, online survey software downloads the data in this format.
  4. Each group displays their data using appropriate graphs.
  5. Each group describes their graphs, making statements that help to answer their investigative questions.
  6. 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.
  7. Each group to select their best graph(s) to keep.

Session 4

  1. Groups refer back to their initial list of investigative 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 data obtained by each group.
    Have you found information to answer your investigative questions?
    Can you put the information into graphs?
    What kind of graphs will you use?

Session 5

  1. Bring all the students together with all their data obtained in the previous session when they were researching on the internet.
    What kinds of graph are best for which kinds of information?
    What are the important things to remember about each type of graph? 
  2. Give students time to enter their data into spreadsheets and produce a range of graphs. Students describe the graphs, answering their investigative questions.  
  3. Bring the graphs together and share with the class.
  4. All of the graphs produced by each group could be made into a wall display with commentary added.
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Level Four