Friday, 17 February 2012

Lesson Sketch: Using Biometrics to Run like Usain Bolt

Students get into pairs with a stop-watch each. The pairs time each other running 100m, getting split times for every 10m (you will need to have marked the track for this in advance.

Say we will now try to improve those times by learning from the best: Usain Bolt. Show the pupils graphs of Usain Bolt's 200m World Record run:


Students draw a distance/time (and speed/time if pupils have learned about tangents) of their own split times.
  1. How is your graph different to Usain's (apart from his being a 200m run)?
  2. Using Usain's speed/time graph, describe his actions in a much detail as possible. Give times for each action. Give distances for each action.
  3. Why do you think Usain slows down towards the end?
  4. Compare Usain's acceleration at the start to yours. What other differences are there between Usain's graphs and yours?
Hopefully from that, students will see that Usain accelerated extremely quickly in the first 10 meters, but continued to accelerate until about the 50 meter mark. From there he tried to maintain his top speed, but slowed down gradually.

(Optional): Show a video of this run. Note techniques: Arms rigid with fast pumping movement, shortish steps, leaning forward at start but upright after a few seconds.

Write down a checklist of what Usain did in the run. Pupils go back to the running track in their pairs and try to do everything on the checklist to improve their previous time.