Why do this
provides children with an opportunity to make
hypotheses and refine them in light of new evidence. It also
requires them to devise systematic ways of working and recording
In order for children to get the most out of this activity, it
would be good for them to have direct access to the interactivity,
so perhaps pairs could share a computer.
Set the scene for the class and introduce the interactivity,
entering any values so that learners see how it works. (Ticking the
"Skip animation" box will speed up the process once they have seen
a few time trials and races.) Invite pairs to talk about how they
would approach the task and then share ideas amongst the whole
group. At this stage, you could say very little and encourage them
to make a start.
After some time, bring the group together to report on
progress so far. At this point, ask them how they are keeping track
of what they have tried - there might be some effective strategies
that you can draw attention to - and invite some learners to
describe what they are doing. Pupils might suggest that you split
the task up so that different pairs are investigating different
combinations of values.
A plenary could focus on explanations of how children know
they have found the optimum regime. Listen out for an awareness of
altering values based on the information gathered from testing and
the use of a system to ensure no possible "winning" combinations
could have been overlooked.
What happens if you lower the value of one input?
What happens if you make that same input larger?
What could you try next?
How will you keep track of what you have tried?
The task could be broken down for some children by eliminating
one variable. For example, they could find out what the best regime
is if the rowers have only got time to do 20 minutes of circuits a