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Olympics: Are Women Improving Faster than Men?

Since women have been competing in the Olympics, there have been many cases where the women, at least for a while, have been improving faster than men. In this activity students explore whether this trend is likely to continue until women are out-performing men.

Students use relevant data to help model the development of men’s and women’s performances. The data is not ‘tidy’. And therefore students explore trends, and consider how to deal with ‘outliers’. A feature of this activity is dealing with this authentic data, recognising and dealing with outlier results and determining how well the data allows the question to be answered.

In this activity, students are involved in all phases of the ‘handling data cycle’. Through this, students perform calculations involving absolute difference, rates of change and relative proportion. They also sketch graphs, find lines of best fit on scatter plots and extrapolate them to find points of intersection. Other mathematical content includes estimation, arithmetic applied to calculations and manipulations with rational numbers, units, compound measures and conversions, presentation and analysis of grouped and ungrouped data, applications of ratio and proportion, accuracy and rounding, linear equations, formulae, expressions and identities, and mathematics as evidence.

Prior understanding of the number work and graph sketching is necessary, but the activity could be used to introduce ideas such as the handling data cycle and finding lines of best fit.

To use this resource:

• download the zip file

• extract all of the files

• run the start file

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This resource is a Category Three Materials