Let’s go play ‘unfair’ bowling!

One afternoon as part of our integrated unit ‘Let’s have a ball!’ 3/4W were split into 4 groups and had a bowling experiment. We had to knock down three drink bottles with various balls in 5 minutes. Here are our results:

Group 1

Stood behind the white line and put drink bottles on the yellow line. We used a plastic golf ball.

We knocked down three drink bottles 0 times in 5 minutes

Group 2

Stood at the whiteline and put drink bottles against the green deck. We used a smaller than average size football.

We knocked down three drink bottles 0 times in 5 minutes

Group 3

Stood anywhere and put drink bottles anywhere. We used a netball.

We knocked down three drink bottles 9 times in 5 minutes

Group 4

Stood anywhere and put drink bottles anywhere. We used a rope soccer ball.

We knocked down three drink bottles 12 times in 5 minutes

Explaining our results

After the experiment, we tried to explain our results. This is what we came up with:

  • The ball shapes were different and this meant that for some groups it was more challenging to hit the drink bottles. Some balls were also really light, like the plastic golf ball so this meant it was not heavy enough to knock the drink bottles down.
  • Group 3 and 4 stood anywhere and this meant they could have stood really close to the drink bottles and it would be easier to knock down.
  • Some people stood quite far away from the drink bottles like in group 1 and 2 and this meant they had to have really good accuracy to knock a drink bottle down.
  • Group 1 had a plastic golf ball and it’s really small. This means that if you roll it to hit a drink bottle, it is very hard to knock it down. Bigger balls mean they have a bigger area to hit the drink bottles.
  • All groups used different drink bottles and this means that some had water in it, some didn’t and some were half full. As a result, it was harder for some groups depending on the type of drink bottle they used.

Do you think this was a fair experiment?  If not, what do you think would make this experiment fair?