Testing tennis variables to win maths competition

MANSW Investigating with Mathematics in Year 8

During a mathematics class in Term 2, Ms Crosswell gave us a notification of the Investigating with Mathematics competition run by the Mathematical Association of NSW. This was an amazing opportunity for our whole class that we took with great excitement. Soon after, we formed groups and started brainstorming! We were given approximately six weeks to investigate the maths in an area of our choice. We had a competition between the groups in our class, and the three best investigations were given the privilege of entering the competition.

During the process, we had many days in which we planned our investigation and conducted the experiment. We faced many challenges during the investigation process; however, we overcame these challenges and came out with a final result. The investigation took many hours of conducting the experiment and analysing our results.

As a group, our investigation was titled “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” and we explored the aspects of mathematics in tennis. As we were all familiar with the topic, we began to brainstorm the possible question and ideas for us to investigate. We finalised our aim and it was  “to test variables in tennis and discover what the maximum impacts are of generating an accurate and powerful forehand shot.”

We focused on the mathematical concepts of speed, distance and time, and related this to the speed of the ball. To accompany this, we researched many aspects that contributed to the speed of the ball. These included the distance you were from the net, the height of the ball, the weight of the racquet and the size of the triangle formed within your arm.

After entering the competition, we soon found out that our group came first in the NSW mathematics investigation competition! Our group was ecstatic and we were so proud! Our investigation has now been sent to Melbourne to enter the Nationals Mathematics Investigation competition and we cannot wait another second to find out the results!

Clarissa, Karla, Isabella, Hannah and Alyssa