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?

44 thoughts on “Let’s go play ‘unfair’ bowling!

  1. Dear 3/4W,
    This was not a fair test because there was no one factor that was changed. Almost all the variables were changed and this makes it an unfair test. To make this a fair test you would need the same type of bottle, bowling ball, distance from the bottles and number of tries to hit the bottles.
    From Nali/Sunny’s sister, Mon

    • Dear Mon,
      Thank you for your comment! That was a great suggestion and we agree with a lot of your tips. What does the word ‘variable’ mean? What type of experiments have you done that are fair?
      From 3/4W

      • Dear Mon,
        l agree all your opinion on here, you made it also understandable and resonable so we know and clearly noticed what we need to do. Thank you for leaving comments!!!!
        From Gillian

        • Hi!

          Nali demanded I reply to this question so here I go. A variable is a factor that can be changed, controlled or measure. An example of a variable in your experiment is the type of ball, this can be changed and controlled (Meaning you can use or not use different types of balls. Recently in my science we conducted an experiment where we tested the speed that sugar dissolves with either someone stirring or not stirring. Here, the variable that we changed was if someone was stirring or not. Hope this is helpful!

          From Sunny/Nali’s sister, Mon

    • Dear Mon,
      I mostly agree with you, but also I think it’s a fair experiment too!
      Because every group have different balls, different bottles and stand at different position. So this makes every group get different results, so they can share what they found that was interesting. So they can get ideas from each other.
      From Cathy

  2. Dear 3/4W,
    This is not a fair experiment. To make it fair, all the group should use the same ball and bottle and do the exact same thing.

    However, this is an interesting experiment through different ball and bottle and let students know the differece makes game results different.

    Thank you.

    Kathy(Cathy’s mum)

    • Dear Kathy,
      Thank you for your comment and suggestions. Have you done other experiements or ones that are similar to this before?
      From 3/4W

    • Dear Kathy,
      l agree on your opinion about this experience. Also it is a very interesting game with different game results. Thank you for leaving a comment on here!!!!
      From Gillian

    • Dear Kathy,
      Thankyou for replying.
      I agree its a unfair experiment, but at the same time, I think its also a fair experiment, beacause students get different experiment and different result.
      From Cathy

  3. Dear 3/4W,

    We can aslo say it is a fair experiment because all the students had experiments by playing the bowling game even though each had different experiment.

    Thank you.

    Kathy(Cathy’s mum)

  4. Dear 3/4W,

    I think it is not fair to play bowling in different rules and different balls for all the students in different groups. Because everyone should have the same opportunity to play the same game in groups, so they can have the same chance to play the game. That would be fair for everyone.
    In my opinion, I would like to suggest all students to play these 4 games equally.

    With Regards
    YING (Dou Dou’s mum)

    • Dear Ying,
      Thank you for your comment. Have you done any similar experiments to this before? Could you please also explain what they were?
      From 3/4W

      • Dear ying,
        I will also thank you for your comment. If you have done any experiments before, please tell us and what happend.
        From Katharine

    • Dear Ying,
      I agree in your opinion, it’s a very good idea. It does make sense that everyone has the same rules in the game.
      From Doudou

    • Dear Ying,
      l agree all your suggestion,
      we should set the same rules for everyone, the same type of balls to everyone. Thank you for replying as well!!!!!
      From Gillian

    • Dear Ying,
      Thank you for replying.
      I agree with what you said, but I also think it’s a fair experiment as well, because students would have try different ways, so they could share what they found. So it’s a fair experiment as well.
      From Cathy

  5. Dear 3/4W what a great experiment ! I hope that you all had fun and learnt something.Personally, I don’t think that this was a fair experiment as in all scenarios there was more than one variable. I am sure that Ms Wong will be able to explain more if you are interested. To make this experiment fair I would suggest either keeping the ball size constant, the placement of the drink bottles the same or the distance from which the ball is thrown the same. From James’ mum, Marie.

    • Dear Marie,
      I agree that it is an unfair test. You had some very good reasons.
      Is there any more reasons why it’s unfair?
      From Jason

    • Dear Marie,
      Thank you for your comment these tips are really helpful and I agree with a lot of them. Could you please tell me what ” scenarios” means? Thank you!
      From Amy

  6. Dear 3/4W,

    That’s a really interesting game. Well in my opinion, it’s not a fair game since everything has been different between the 4 group of students, like the shape of bottles, the distance to bottles etc. To make a game fair, just similar to design a science fair experiment, you should have everything be as close to identical or controlled, the only thing that can be different between the 4 identical game groups is the thing that you are testing (we call it the variable)- in this case, the students. So you can get fair game result (or correct answer for science fair experiment). If you changed the different group of students, and the shape of bottles and distance to bottles as well, you wouldn’t know if the results were because of shorter distance to the bottles, or bigger ball area or the more competitive studnets. Therefore to make the game fair, all 4 group of students should play under identical game conditions and rules.


    Rita (Gillian’s mum)

  7. Dear Marie,
    My name is Zeno
    thank you for your comment back to the class
    your idea was very helpful about making the experiment fair. The class definitely agrees with your change of the same type of ball and the distance from the bottles and where the person was standing
    Kind regards,

  8. Dear Rita
    I think your thinking and suggestions are wonderful. If you want to reply to me again I would want you to answer this question have you done any experiments if so, was it like this experiment?

    From Kevin

  9. Dear Rita,
    Thankyou for repling.
    I think its a unfair experiment as well as a fair experiment, beacause students get different experiment and different results.
    From Cathy

  10. Dear 3/4W,
    This was not a fair experiment because
    1.The 2 of the groups only had limited space to move around and the other 2 groups could move where ever they want which means they could stand right infront of the bottles and do it.
    2.group 3 and 4 had bigger balls which meant it was much easier.
    3.group 2 had a ball that was super bouncy.
    From William

  11. Dear 3/4W,
    My opinion : If the children were aware why different balls were used to knock down the bottles and if they knew this was an experiment to determine a certain outcome i dont think there is any question of this being unfair. Only if this was played as a game it would be unfair since not all groups have the same kind of balls or were made to stand at the same distance to knock down the bottles. Fair or unfair comes into picture when the opportunities are not equal for the participants.
    From Sid, Eshan’s Dad

  12. Dear 3/4W
    My favourite ball is the tennis ball, downball and soccer ball because I like to play downball, I like the design of the tennis ball and the soccer ball is rough and smoothe so I like where it’s stitched and the octagons are a good shape so I like it.
    From Eshan

  13. Dear 34w,
    I think this bowling is very interesting, but it’s not very fair. If we want to make it fair, we must use same ball, same drink bottle… anything must be same, because if anything is different, anything’s properties is different, so it just unfair.
    From Leo

  14. Dear 34w,
    I do not think this is a fair test because golf ball is so light and the netball is about 10 times bigger. This means that the netball would have a greater chance of hitting the drink bottles. The drink bottles also did not have the same amount of water, so this would mean that some groups would be able to hit the bottle easily if the drink bottles were empty. (other groups may not be able to hit it so easily if the drink bottle was full).
    From Jessica

    • Dear 34w,
      I also forgot to write that the place that we were standing was different so that could change the results. For example, the group that could stand wherever they wanted could stand right beside the bottles. This would give them a greater chance of hitting all 3 bottles.
      From Jessica

    • Dear Jessica
      It sounds like “unfair bowling” was fun. I wasn’t there on the day you guys did it. Hope you had fun
      From Rhiannon

  15. Dear 34w
    My favourite ball was the tennis ball because it was not flat straight of the bat where the netball was very flat and this was definitely an unfair experiment being the tennis ball had more air than the netball
    From, Tom

  16. Dear 3/4W,
    I think this is an unfair bowling, because the balls and rules in each group are different, the size and weight of the balls are different, and the difference between rules are also affecting the fairness, also some group can stand wherever they want and put there drink bottle wherever they need as well, but some groups have a strict distance between the drink bottle and they have smaller and lighter balls.Thank You!!!!!!!

    From Gillian

  17. Dear 3/4W,
    I thought this was very unfair because the balls were not the same size or shapes, some could bounce in random directions so it would be nearly impossible to knock down all 3 of the bottles and some people can just stand right in front of the bottles and knock them down in one go.
    From William

    • Dear William,
      I also thought this was unfair because our group had to use the light plastic golf ball to knock down the three bottles. Two of them have water in it so even if we throw it we can’t knock down the bottles. We’ve only managed to hit my one which is empty. It was so hard!
      From Andrew

  18. Dear 3/4W,
    We did an unfair experiment last with ice. We split into two groups and one group stood in the shade and one stood in the sun . It was unfair
    Libby (56T student)

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