Sports day

School events frequently contain patterns. Finding repeating and other patterns in an upcoming sports day could make a splendid whole-school project. Activities can be designed that are suitable for children of all ages.


Here are some questions students might explore.

  • How often does your school hold a sports day? Do these dates form a repeating pattern?
  • Does your school sports day have a sack race? If so, how does the movement of each competitor make a repeating pattern?


A girl and a boy participating in a sack race at a sports day.

A sack race.
Source: Getty/Deborah Jaffe.

  • Look at the running lanes for a 100 m race. How are they designed? How do they form a repeating pattern?
A photo of a 100 metre running track in a park.

A running track.

  • Look at the running lanes for a 400 m race. What pattern do they form?
  • Look at the best results for a race that is run by different year groups (e.g. times for a 50 m race in years 1–6). Do these numbers form a pattern? If so, describe the pattern.
  • Find the number of points won by each house or year group. Do these numbers form a pattern? If so, describe the pattern.

Curriculum links

Year 2: Describe and draw two-dimensional shapes, with and without digital technologies

Year 1: Investigate and describe number patterns formed by skip counting and patterns with objects

Year 2: Describe patterns with numbers and identify missing elements

Year 2: Identify a question of interest based on one categorical variable. Gather data relevant to the question