Marathon Man Bearings

Eddie Izzard

Image via Wikipedia

In 2009, comedian Eddie Izzard ran 43 marathons in 51 days around the UK. He endured blisters, losing a toenail and damaging an ankle ligament. He also had daily ice baths which, in his own words, were “to stop your legs inflating to the size of an elephant”! After running over 1100 miles he returned to Trafalgar Square on 15th September 2010.

This is a fascinating story and one that you can use to inspire your pupils! The idea is that pupils have to use bearings and scale measurements to describe his route. This is a nice task that you can get the pupils to do to test their knowledge after they have some familiarity with bearings.The BBC made a great series of programmes following him during his run and the first five minutes of the first episode sets the scene quite nicely:

You can then give the pupils this worksheet which explains the task. You may find it appropriate to model on the board how they can approximate the route as a series of straight lines and then how to take the bearings. In addition to taking the bearings they can use scale measurements to estimate the distance of each part of the journey they are describing. You may find it useful to print the worksheets on A3 paper to make them a bit bigger and easier to take the measurements from.

To finish up this task you can show them the video of Eddie crossing the finishing line:

In addition to making bearings a bit more interesting, it gives the pupils an extra opportunity to develop their literacy skills.


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