BBC Two Learning Zone has produced a series of video maths challenges for Key Stages 1, 2 and 3. Developed with input from our NRICH project, 3, 2, 1, Go! sees real schoolchildren solve problems given to them by sporting heroes.

Key Stage 3 - Gymnastics Angles of Rotation Challenge

3, 2, 1, Go! is a sports-maths challenge show which reveals how important maths is to sport. Two gymnastics-mad Key Stage 3 schoolchildren are taken to the Heathrow Gymnastics Club in Greater London. They meet GB Gymnast Daniel Purvis, and are set a maths challenge related to gymnastics. They have to mark out four different degrees of rotation that Daniel’s body passes through during a 360 degree flip.

Possible uses in the classroom:

Set the scene by asking the students what sorts of events are included in gymnastics in the Olympics. What sort of mathematical language might they use or hear used to describe the movements in these events?

Show the video up to where the challenge is given. Ask the students what they think the challenge is requiring the girls to do and how they might do it.

Show the rest of the video and ask the students to compare their ideas with what the girls did.

Look at some videos of high performing gymnasts and calculate what angles they turn through in each routine. How do they compare?


Gymnasts receive scores for different things; the difficulty of a move, precision in those moves, artistic interpretation etc. Generally speaking the greater the angle turned, the more difficult a move. Can you think of some examples of this? Can you think of some counter examples?


Create a display to show the different types of rotations in the gymnastic events.

Related resources:

The following problems from our NRICH website explore some of the mathematical ideas encountered in this activity:

  • Estimating Angles This engaging interactive game helps students improve their ability to estimate angles.
  • Attractive Rotations This activity provides a simple starting point creating attractive patterns using rotations, with the potential to go much further - for example exploring rotational symmetry, understanding the relationship between coordinates when rotating through multiples of 90∘, and practising accurate construction with ruler, compasses and protractor. It is aimed at KS3 students.

Learning Outcomes - Numbers

KS3 curriculum:

[Ma3 2c] make and draw with increasing accuracy 2-D and 3-D shapes and patterns; recognize reflective symmetry in regular polygons…

Commissioned by BBC Two Learning Zone with advice from Lynne McClure (Director of NRICH, Millennium Mathematics Project, University of Cambridge), the clips were produced in collaboration with BBC Sport.