Predicting Using Data Sets – A Mathematics Lesson Plan on Sporting Events


Summary of Lesson Plan:

In this lesson plan, the experience provides a contextually relevant opportunity for students to explore continuous data and make predictions using data sets. This experience can easily be adapted to other sporting events including the Olympic Games and World Cup.

Australian Curriculum Links:

Year 5 Statistics and Probability:
  • Pose questions and collect categorical or numerical data by observation or survey (ACMSP118)
  • Construct displays, including column graphs, dot plots and tables, appropriate for data type, with and without the use of digital technologies (ACMSP119)

Lesson Plan Sequence:

Mathematical Prior Learning:

Students have a sound understanding of collecting, presenting and interpreting data in bar and column graphs as well as in two-way tables. They have a basic understanding of the need for scale, one to one correspondence and labelling when presenting graphs. Students have begun to explore the differences between discrete and continuous data and have recently had an introduction to line graphs. In other areas of mathematics students have knowledge of decimals up to two decimal places and are able to convert between the measurement units of length, mass and time.


Statistical literacy is essential in for students to become active and informed members of society who can make informed decisions. The advantages and disadvantages of different representations of the same data in different graphs should also be explicitly taught, which are opportunities this experience will provide.
This task will also introduce students to collecting and organising their own continuous data, prior to trying to read numerical graphs. In addition, it will also provide students with the opportunity experiment with different ways of organizing their own data in a line graph. This lesson will provide a contextually relevant opportunity for students to explore changes in real continuous data with the upcoming Commonwealth Games. By utilising their interests this will create a motivating and engaging opportunity for students to see the relevance of statistics in their everyday lives, and an opportunity to make predictions.


For students to:
  • Collect numerical, continuous data using internet research;
  • Construct a line graph while considering scale, labelling and a title;
  • Interpret their line graph and make a prediction based on patterns in the data;
  • Understand that a line graph is used to show continuous data that changes ie. Over time.

Lesson: Introduction:

As a whole group, students discuss the upcoming Commonwealth games and their favourite events. They discuss the concept of winning records and who may win this year. Students are given the task of investigating what the results in an athletics or swimming event may be in 2014.

Together, the class reflects on the previous data displays that have been explored and their uses. Students revisit the use of a line graph (to show changes in continuous data over time). Next, students are required to pick an event from either athletics or swimming and research the gold medal winning results from past Commonwealth Games using the internet and collect their relevant data. Using their data, they create a line graph on grid paper to display their findings and to show changes in the winning results over times ie. The winning 100m times. Students label their line graph and decide on a scale to be used. Students write a statement about their findings and make a prediction for the results in their event in 2014. As a group, students share their findings and discuss the way the information has been presented.

Following the Commonwealth Games students revisit their data sets to check their predictions.

Questioning to extend Working Mathematically focus:

  • What is the title for your graph? (Communicating);
  • Could this information be presented in a bar graph? Why/why not? (Reasoning);
  • Why did you label your graph in that way (horizontal/vertical axis)? (Communicating);
  • How does your graph show the information to scale? (Communicating);
  • What do you predict the result will be in 2014? (Reasoning);
  • What are the advantages of using this type of graph? (Reasoning);
  • What does the graph show you about the results over time? (Reasoning).

Integration of Technology:

The internet provides an avenue for students to collect and explore data that otherwise wouldn’t not be available. Although Excel or Word could also be used to construct the line graphs at this stage I have elected to use grid paper to enable students to explore the importance of labelling and scale.

Modifications for Stage 2:

Students will also have the opportunity to utilise the internet for collection of data regarding the Commonwealth Games. However, as Stage 2 are still explore categorical data they will be provided with the task of identifying their own question to investigate around the medal tally, before collecting data and creating either a table or column graph. Ie. In which sport has Australia won the most medals? Which country has won the most gold medals?

  • MA2-18SP Selects appropriate methods to collect data, and constructs, compares, interprets and evaluates data displays, including tables, picture graphs and column graphs.


Assessment through informal interview questioning and class discussion as well as through analysis of student’s sample line graph and written statement.





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