Goal: Keep track of how many you can do in a row with practice¬≠—skipping rope, snapping fingers, and more

Before beginning

Choose something that children can do a few times in a row, such as tossing a ball without dropping it.

step 1 Count and keep track

Children count how many they can do in a row.

girl running
step 1


Children record the date and their count. Collect the papers so children can use them again.

skip rope chart

step 1

Keep practicing

Try it again each week or month.

talk aboutDo you get better over time? How do you know?



Count with me (easier). Children work in pairs. One does the activity and the other counts and keeps track. Then, they switch.

Changing conditions (harder). Children investigate influences on endurance. If you are skipping rope, does it matter whether you’re barefoot or wearing shoes? What if you shut your eyes?


Math Spotlight

Organizing data

Recording in a standard way helps everyone keep track and compare progress. If you look down the “In a row” column and see that the numbers go up, endurance is showing an increase. All that exercise is paying off!

Sometimes the numbers don’t seem to show a trend. Then, you can investigate further:

Were you wearing sneakers sometimes and sandals other times? Were you very tired when you tried the activity in May?

skip rope chart 2 skip rope chart 3


Everyday Connections

Finding a baseline

How much weight did you gain over the holiday season? How many inches did your three-year-old child grow last summer? How much has your new exercise routine reduced your blood pressure?

In order to tell how much a measurement has changed, you need to know what it was to start with. That’s the baseline. If you usually weigh 140 pounds, your baseline is 140. If you now weigh 145, you’ve gained 5 pounds. If you weigh 138, you’ve lost 2.

In this activity, children gather baseline data: they record what they can do initially. Then, track change over time, so they know if they are getting stronger or more agile. Medical professionals gather baseline data on weight, blood pressure, and body temperature from patients, so they can determine if their health is improving. Athletes use baseline data to assess whether training routines are effective. Business owners use baseline data to determine whether new advertisements are bringing in more sales.

back to activity list


  • K-6+

Minimum number of participants

  • 1

Suggested grouping

  • any


  • 10-20 minutes (over several days or weeks)


  • collecting and analyzing data


  • paper and pencils


  • counting to 20

Books about sports statistics

  • Wilma Unlimited. Krull, Kathleen. (Voyager, 2000).
  • Data, Graphing, and Statistics.Wingard-Nelson, Rebecca. (Enslow, 2004).