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Winning and Losing

To reinforce that we are all winners in different ways.

by Kate Fleming

Suitable for Key Stage 1


To consider the triumphs and disappointments associated with winning and losing. To reinforce that we are all winners in different ways.

Preparation and materials

You will need a coin for step 1. below.


  1. Begin by saying: Heads I win, tails you lose! Does that sound fair to you? No? Whoever makes the bargain always is the winner.

    Show the children the coin. Ask which side is heads? Why? Because it shows the Queen's head. Which side is tails? Why? Because it's the opposite side to the head - like a dog's tail is the opposite end to the head.

    Who knows what is on the tail side of British coins? All the coins show something different: lions, thistles, roses.
  2. Toss and catch the coin. Ask the children to choose heads or tails - individually, keeping their prediction to themselves. Toss the coin and announce whether it's heads or tails. Explain to the children that they are now divided into winners and losers.

    How do you feel if you have won? Triumphant, happy, excited?
    How do you feel if you have lost? Disappointed, upset, want another go?
    Explain that heads and tails creates winners and losers by CHANCE.
  3. People can become winners by being 'simply the best - better than all the rest!' Olympic gold medallists are 'simply the best'. The motto for the Olympic Games is 'Swifter, Higher, Stronger'. The athlete who can run fastest, jump highest, or lift the most will win the gold medal and be 'better than all the rest'.

    If animals had an Olympic Games, who would win the running race? The animal who can run the fastest is the cheetah. Sometimes, though, the fastest creature doesn't always win.
  4. Ask the children if they know the story about the Hare and the Tortoise. Tell a version of this well-known Aesop's fable.

    The Hare and the Tortoise
    Hare was fast. He went like the wind, his strong back legs purpose-built to propel him at speed across fields, through woods, up hills and down dales. He was the best at running.

    Tortoise, on the other hand, was slow, careful and determined, getting there in the end, but it took a long time.

    So it was with great hilarity and surprise that the other animals learnt that these two, Hare and Tortoise, had challenged each other to a running race. They all knew who would win, or they thought they did.

    The race began: 'On your marks, get set, GO!'

    Hare sped off like lightning and soon disappeared from sight. Tortoise plodded on, slowly covering the ground.

    When Hare passed the Old Oak Tree which marked the half-way point, he knew that he was far ahead of Tortoise, so he decided to take a nap, and soon fell asleep.

    When Tortoise arrived at the Old Oak Tree, Hare was still asleep. Tortoise crept past him, and eventually passed the winning post first.

    'I'm the winner!' he said to himself.

    'Tortoise has won the race!' exclaimed the other animals in amazement. 'Who would have believed that?'
  5. What does this story tell us? That we are all capable of being winners. That if you keep going you will get there in the end. That sometimes determination is more important than anything else.

    We are all winners at something, which makes us all special. Think about what you are good at doing, and how you can get better, and be 'simply the best!'

Time for reflection

Dear God,
Help us to understand that we cannot be the winner at everything, all the time;
that some of the time we have to be content to know that we are doing our best.
Help us to understand that in life there are many different kinds of races,
and that all of them take courage and determination to do our best.


'When a Knight won his spurs' (Come and Praise, 50);
'Father hear the prayer we offer' (Come and Praise, 48).

Curriculum links

PSHE, English.

Publication date: July 2000   (Vol.2 No.7)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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