Inspired by the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, BBC Two Learning Zone has produced a new series of video maths challenges for Key Stages 1, 2 and 3. Developed with input from us (the University of Cambridge's Millennium Mathematics Project), 3, 2, 1, Go! sees real schoolchildren solve problems given to them by Olympic champions and sporting heroes.

Key Stage 1 - Rugby Timing and Measuring Challenge

3, 2, 1, Go! is a sports-maths challenge show which reveals how important maths is to sport. Two rugby-mad Key Stage 1 schoolchildren are taken on a behind-the-scenes tour of the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. They meet two Welsh Rugby Union stars, Lloyd Williams and Harry Robinson, and are set a maths challenge related to rugby.

The challenge is to throw and catch a rugby ball, measuring the distance achieved each time using a measuring tape. The children must record each measurement and then rank the throws in order of distance to find the longest one.

Possible uses in the classroom:

Set the scene and the show the clip, stopping just after the challenge is described.

Ask the children to talk in pairs about how they think the boys will do the task, then share their ideas with the rest of the class.

Show the remainder of the video sequence, stopping when actions occur that the children have drawn attention to, in particular:

Deciding who throws and who catches
Choosing a measuring device
Measuring accurately
Recording – how do we record m and cm?
Deciding which is the longest throw

In each case draw comparison with the children’s ideas, asking them for the advantages/disadvantages of each if they are different to the video.

Set up the outside activity which replicates the video activity using different types and sizes of balls. Which ball do they think will be thrown the furthest? Why?

When the activity is over, display the results centrally and order them. Discuss their results. Were they correct?


In pairs and using any equipment they choose, children work out the difference between the boys’ longest and shortest throw.


Children measure the length of a throw in strides, and record their results, Which was the longest? How do you know? Which was the shortest throw?

Related resources

  • Can You Do It Too? Can you throw a beanbag as far as the Olympic hammer or discus throwers? This KS1 activity introduces children to informal measures to compare distances.

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

  • Order, Order! This KS1 problem offers an opportunity to combine skills from mathematics and science, and challenges children to rank quantities in order from smallest to largest.

Learning outcomes-


KS1 curriculum:

[Ma2 2c] read and write numbers to 20 at first…understand and use the vocabulary of comparing and ordering these numbers.

[Ma2 5a] solve a relevant problem by using simple lists, tables and charts to sort, classify and organise information.

[Ma3 1b] select and use appropriate mathematical equipment when solving problems inviolving measures and measurement.

[Ma3 1d] use the correct language and vocabulary for shape, space and measures

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.