Olympic medal ranking

This is an introduction to the use of spreadsheets by looking at how countries are ranked at the Olympic Games. Students are asked to use Excel functions to order the data. They are asked to comment on whether the ranking is fair and how it could be improved; this leads to the concept of weighted rankings.

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Overview of task

This is an introduction to the use of spreadsheets by looking at how countries are ranked at the Olympic Games. Students are asked to use Excel functions to order the data. They are asked to comment on whether the ranking is fair and how it could be improved; this leads to the concept of weighted rankings.

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Strand(s)

Number; Statistics; Algebra

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Prior knowledge

Appreciation of basic spreadsheet work, basic data handling and substitution into a formula.

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Relevance to Core Maths qualifications

  • AQA
  • C&G
  • Eduqas
  • Pearson / Edexcel
  • OCR

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Suggested approaches

The task is suitable for group work, with opportunity for collaboration and discussion with the class about different methods for ranking countries.

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Resources/documentation

In addition to this teacher guidance, there is:

  • A spreadsheet containing the medal data for students to work with
  • A task sheet for students
  • Teacher’s copy of spreadsheet with completed ranks

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Relevant digital technologies

The task requires use of a spreadsheet.

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Possible extensions

The task could be extended to take a country’s population into account. It could be a starting point for research into other ranking systems in other contexts, e.g. education league tables (schools, universities) or sports world rankings (FIFA, tennis, golf).

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Acknowledgement

The resource was developed by Jon Finch at Priestley College, with support from Sadhiv Mahandru and Steven Nixon (Priestley College).