Science Activity (Grades 6-9) from Lessonopoly
Objective: Understand concepts in mathematics using scoring rules used in the Olympics.
Introduction notes for teacher:
This activity is intended for a class assignment after the viewing the NBC Learn MATHLETES video clip. It presents an opportunity for students to experience the process of how some Olympic events are scored. Ex: events that cannot be measured by a ruler or a clock.
It is recommended that the teacher give a brief description on the two general types of scoring: objective and subjective. Objective scoring is relatively obvious, the „best‟ score is that measured by a device (e.g. a clock or ruler) or procedure that does not depend on a “human” interpretation. Objective scoring is used for race time, jump distance, game scores, etc. Subjective scoring requires an evaluation or opinion by a judge, like how well a skater performs a routine or how smoothly a skier performs his jump.
This activity will have some students „perform‟ a routine and have other students judge them using the Olympics „1 through 10‟ system described in the video.
Description of Olympic (subjective) scoring method:
1. Nine judges score on a 1-10 basis.
2. Two of the nine scores are randomly discarded.
3. Two more scores, the lowest and the highest, are discarded.
4. The remaining five scores are averaged to get a final score for an individual competitor.
1. The teacher selects a contest option. (See list below)
2. The teacher selects nine students from the class to be judges. The judges are equipped with paper
and markers. A number is assigned, one through nine, to each judge. The teacher may also wish to
assign one or two students to be score recorders/calculators, although the calculating process might
be done best by all students.
3. After the judging of the first contestant, randomly delete two judges. A spinner with nine
numbered pie sections can be used. Two spin landings can delete two judges. (Any other random
selection process can be used like drawing cards, throwing dice, etc.) Note that a separate deletion
process will occur for each contestant.
4. At least four contestants should be selected from the rest of the class. (Any number of
contestants can be selected if time permits.)
5. Have the first contestant perform in front of the judges. Have judges show their assigned score.
6. Use the spinner to delete two judges/scores. Delete highest/lowest scores. Calculate average.
(As per step 2 above, this could be done by a recorder/calculator team or by the teacher guiding all
students in the calculation).
7. Repeat steps 5 and 6 for the other contestants.
8. Declare the gold, silver, and bronze winners.
9. Have students submit an activity report using a teacher-designed format.
The subject of scoring criteria is an appropriate concept to introduce, but may distract students from
understanding the math basics of the system. In reality the judge does not award a score purely upon
his own feelings. He does not use race, gender, nationality, etc, and, in fact, will properly try to
ignore such feelings if they arise. Most Olympic events have a list of criteria written beforehand that
judges are supposed to use when they award their score. (e.g. originality, difficulty, etc.).
List of Contest Options:
(Each performance should have a time limit (e.g. one minute).
1. Draw something on the board (an animal, cartoon, etc.).
2. Sing a short song, commercial jingle, etc.
3. Recite a short poem (previously given to memorize).
4. Make a funny facial expression.
5. Tell a (clean) joke.
6. Other activities which are appropriate for student age, maturity, safety, and resource availability.
Competitors to watch at the 2018 Winter Olympics
From Nigerian bobsleigh racers to a lone skier from East Timor, around 3,000 competitors are readying to take part in the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, from February 9-25.
Read more on Newsela