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# Secondary Magazine - Issue 13

This page has been archived. The content was correct at the time of original publication, but is no longer updated.
Created on 28 June 2008 by ncetm_administrator
Updated on 14 August 2008 by ncetm_administrator
 Welcome to issue 13 of the NCETM Secondary Magazine. Read on to discover our regular fortnightly features. Why not let us know what you want to see in forthcoming issues. If you have thoughts to share you can also add your comments on the portal.

Anyone for tennis?
Strawberries and cream, jugs of Pimms, the dull thwack of tennis balls, regular grunts and  hysterical young fans on ‘Henman Hill’ – it must be Wimbledon again! This very English festival of tennis, while being excellent entertainment also gives us the opportunity to engage  a different subset of young mathematicians with the excellent problems associated with mathematics and sport. The Six Nations and football (even Euro 2008) pale into insignificance for this fortnight of the year, when the tennis coverage only has to vie with news from the Test Match for supremacy in our affections. So what use will we make of this in our lessons?

Wimbledon is a knock-out tournament, which works beautifully if the initial number of competitors is a power of two.

Pupil activities can include:
• drawing out the schedule (see below) for 2, 4, 8 players to understand ‘how it works’
• deciding what other numbers of players it would work as well for
• making a generalisation about the numbers of players for which it works
• expressing this generalisation mathematically
• justifying this generalisation
• deciding where in the schedule to place the seeds so that the final, semi final etc. have the greatest chance of being between the appropriate seeds
• investigating the powers of 2, using the powers key on the calculator
• investigating how many games the winner needs to play depending on the number of players.

What happens if the initial number of competitors is not a power of two? How does it work then?
Pupils can investigate the effects of different numbers of players on the number of games the winner has to play.

Another area of interest might be the prize money (see the table below). It’s useful to be able to put large numbers into context.

You could try the following:
• ask pupils to make five comparative statements about the numbers they see
• £10 250 for a first round loser might sound a lot of money, so pupils could think about how many tournaments a player needs to lose in the first round in a year to have a good standard of living
• ask pupils to work out how much the prize money will be next year if there is the same increase
• ask them to calculate the prize money for 2006, if there had been the same increase from 2006 to 2007.

Are you inspired to make Wimbledon fortnight a festival of mathematics in your classroom?

2008 Wimbledon Championships Prize Money

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30 March 2009 13:02
Do not forget A Level. An investigation into the way the ball moves from the service so as to land within the 'box' is well worthy of their attention. It's all about projectiles of course so how haqrd must the ball be hit to ensure it keeps in play?
11 July 2008 20:06

If x players enter Wimbledon Mens' (or Womens') Singles, how many matches must be played in order to decide the champion?

Answer: x-1 (All the players, except the champion, must lose exactly one game).
10 July 2008 10:57
A few years ago now I was watching a match at Wimbeldon and it struck me that statistics were being chucked at the viewer regularly throughout the game - % first/second serve in, unforced errors, winners, volleys, double faults, length of rally, number of aces etc etc. I videoed a doubles match (more information, longer rallies) and got the class into groups. Each person in the group had to concentrate on a particular statistic and then as a group put together a presentation. I showed them a set of tennis. It led to some interesting statistics and the students could appreciate that someone was being paid to do exactly the same thing, which gave the task an extra relevance.

Interestingly, as a keen Wimbledon viewer, I didn't notice as many match stats being used this year as, say 10 years ago.