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Can You Do it Too?

Age 5 to 7 Challenge Level:

Can You Do it Too?

Here are some pictures of people throwing things in Olympic event. The first one shows a man throwing a hammer and the second shows a man throwing a discus.

They can throw them a long way. In $2000$ the Olympic record for throwing the hammer was about $80$ adult paces and for throwing the discus was about $70$ adult paces.

How far can you throw a beanbag?

Can you throw a beanbag $70$ paces?

Can you throw a beanbag $80$ paces?


Photograph acknowledgements



Why do this problem?


This task offers children the chance to look at Olympic records in relation to their own experiences. It introduces using informal measures to compare distances.

Possible approach

Tell the children about the throwing the discus and throwing the hammer. You will find some useful links on the official Olympic website:

Ask the children how far they think the discus has been thrown. It would be a good idea to look at the distance outside on the playing field.
Then the children can try throwing a beanbag themselves as far as they can. Talk about how they will measure how far they have thrown and listen to their suggestions. If counting paces, it may help to have one pacing and another counting to check. The whole activity of counting the paces is worthwhile in itself as it develops the children's understanding of counting to events (paces) rather than objects.

Key questions

How far did you throw the beanbag?
How did you measure the distance?
Who threw the beanbag the furthest?
Did you throw it as far as the Olympic record for the discus?
Did you throw it as far as the Olympic record for the hammer throw?

Possible extension

You could use a ball and see how far it can be thrown leaving it to reach a stop.
Compare the distances that can be thrown with a variety of balls.
Compare the distances that different children can throw the ball.
It would be possible to move on to using standard measures for the task - if you have a trundle wheel this might provide a nice comparison to the paces.

Possible support

Chiildren may need support with counting the paces or with identifying the starting and finishing points of their throws.