STEM Resources

GB Olympic Medals

GB Olympic Medals

Barrie Galpin

Topic: Mathematics

Tags Data, Sport

UPDATED. How many Olympic medals will Team GB win in Rio 2016?

Students can use historical data to try to predict a future event. The number of medals won by the UK in all of the modern Olympic games may (or may not!) provide a useful estimate of the number that will be won in the Rio de Janeiro games in 2016. Are there patterns or trends in the number of medals won previously? Should the increasing size of the games affect predictions? Just what is the effect of home advantage?

There are no ?right answers? in this investigation and students will need to use their own judgement in assessing which historical data to use and which to reject. All this makes the activity most suitable for use in a classroom situation where students are able to work individually on TI-Nspire handhelds and there can be class discussion based around TI-Nspire software projected onto a large screen.

As well as learning a little Olympic history, students will need to acquire and practise data-handling skills along the way.

The TI-Nspire document is divided into five separate problems:

1) Introduction (3 pages to read)

2) Some Olympic history (9 pages:  information, spreadsheet data, Q & A pages,)

3) The UK's number of medals (7 pages: using scatter plots to look for trends)

4) The UK's share of the medals (10 pages: more data and calculations on a spreadsheet)

5) Home advantage (8 pages: how do nations fare in the games after they have been the host?)

It seems that the UK may have cause for optimism!