Year level: 1

Strand: Number / Statistics

Lesson length: 60 mins

In this first of two lessons, students investigate and play a First Nations Australian children’s instructive game of throwing skill called Kolap. They collect and represent data, and discuss their findings.

In the second lesson, students create a visual representation of the data collected and recorded in this lesson.

This lesson was developed in collaboration with Caty Morris and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mathematics Alliance (ATSIMA).

Recording data in a game of Kolap: Part 1 Image

Achievement standard

By the end of Year 1, students solve problems involving addition and subtraction of numbers to 20 and use mathematical modelling to solve practical problems involving addition, subtraction, equal sharing and grouping, using calculation strategies. They collect and record categorical data, create one-to-one displays, and compare and discuss the data using frequencies.

Content descriptions

Students quantify sets of objects, to at least 120, by partitioning collections into equal groups using number knowledge and skip counting. AC9M1N03

Students add and subtract numbers within 20, using physical and virtual materials, part-part-whole knowledge to 10 and a variety of calculation strategies. AC9M1N04

Students represent collected data for a categorical variable using one-to-one displays and digital tools where appropriate; compare the data using frequencies and discuss the findings. AC9M1ST02

Note an elaboration for this content description relates directly to this lesson: exploring First Nations Australian children’s instructive games; for example, Kolap from Mer Island in the Torres Strait region, recording the outcomes, representing and discussing the results.

General capabilities


  • Number sense and algebra Level 3
  • Additive strategies Level 6
  • Interpreting and representing data Level 2

Cross-curriculum priority

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures


  • First Nations Australian societies are diverse and have distinct cultural expressions such as language, customs and beliefs. As First Nations Peoples of Australia, they have the right to maintain, control, protect and develop their cultural expressions, while also maintaining the right to control, protect and develop culture as Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property. A_TSIC1


  • Australia has 2 distinct First Nations Peoples; each encompasses a diversity of nations across Australia. Aboriginal Peoples are the first peoples of Australia and have occupied the Australian continent for more than 60,000 years. Torres Strait Islander Peoples are the First Nations Peoples of the Torres Strait and have occupied the region for over 4,000 years. A_TSIP1
  • Use observation and informal conversations to access students’ understanding of ways to collect (tally) and record data.
  • What counting process do students use to quantify the team tally? Can students skip count by fives when quantifying the total score?

Some students may:

  • be unfamiliar with tallying and inaccurately record a tally not understanding that the fifth tally mark crosses the preceding four tally marks to make a group of 5
  • believe that all throws count and proceed to mark tally marks for all throws, regardless of whether they’re successful; support students to understand the rules of scoring in this particular game and the goal of landing throws within the target area
  • still be developing one-to-one correspondence and their tally mark recording may not match the number of successful throws; encourage students to check their tally marks match with the number of kolaps on the mat before clearing the mat, and encourage students to work together to focus on and keep track of the score.

Prior to this lesson, it is assumed that students have knowledge of:

  • how to use of tally marks
  • one-to-one correspondence when using counting processes

What you need:

  • Lesson plan (Word)

  • Instructions to play Kolap (PDF)

  • Teacher background information sheet (Word)

  • Plastic hoops, mats or similar for a target and beanbags or such as natural materials such as gum nuts similar for the kolap

  • Paper and markers (or chalkboards and chalk; mini-whiteboards and markers) for tallying/recording results