Which do you prefer - the art of questioning

A group of mathematicians in Room 5 has been using their knowledge of the statistical investigation process to conduct their own investigations into a topic of interest to them. First, they had to pose a question they wanted to investigate. 

Following are the questions the students formulated:

  • What is your favourite farm animal? (Lilee)
  • Who is your most favourite person in your family? (Frankie)
  • What type of machine do you like best? (Benjamin)
  • What is your favourite sport? (Jackson)
  • What is your favourite colour horse? (Thea)
  • What is your favourite fruit? (Max.P)
  • What is your favourite Super Rugby New Zealand Team? (Kian)
  • What is your favourite ANZ Cup Netball Team? (Leela)
  • How do you travel to school? (Max.S)

Next, the students independently conducted a statistical investigation to answer the question they had posed. They collected data from the students in our buddy class Room 10. They recorded their findings on a tally chart. Then they displayed the results on a bar graph.

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Finally, they discussed and wrote their findings to answer the question they had posed at the beginning of the process. As part of this process we identified a range of things we could comment on using the data we had collected. This included information about the most common and the least common. The students were also asked to make some statements about the data we collected i.e. difference, false and true statements.

Max discovered that the most common way to travel to school was by car (8 people) while the least common was scooter (0 people). He also made the following statements about the data he collected -

the difference between the number of people that travel to school by bus and car is 1 person (3 bus, 2 car). It is true that 1 person that I talked to ran to school. It is false that 10 people come on a scooter to school. (Max)

Leela discovered that the most popular New Zealand netball team was the Magic (8 people) while the least popular were the Mystics and Tactics (0 people). She also made the following statements about the data she collected -

the difference between the number of people whose favourite team was the Magic and the Pulse is 7 people (8 Magic, 1 Pulse). It is true that 4 people’s favourite team was the Sting. It is false that 10 people said the Stars was their favourite New Zealand netball team. (Leela)

Max discovered that the most common favourite fruit was watermelon (8 people) while the least common fruit was cherries (1 person). He also made the following statements about the data he collected -

the difference between the number of people that prefer oranges and apples is 2 people (3 apples, 1 orange). It is true that 2 people’s favourite fruit is kiwifruit. It is false that 15 people like oranges the best. (Max)

Thea loves horses. She discovered that the most common favourite coloured horse was white (9 people) while the least common was grey (0 people). She also made the following statements about the data she collected -

the difference between the number of people that like white and chestnut coloured horses is 5 people (9 white, 4 chestnut). It is true that 3 people that I talked to preferred black horses . It is false that there are 10 people that preferred bay coloured horses. (Thea)

Kian had a very different way of posing his question to the people in his survey. Once the person had given their response he tried to convince them the chiefs were best so they would change their preference - obviously a true Chiefs fan. Kian  discovered that the most common preference for NZ Super Rugby Team was the Chiefs (10 people) while the least common was the Blues and Highlanders (0 people). He also made the following statements about the data he collected -

the difference between the number of people that prefer the Chiefs and Crusaders  is 7 people (10 Chiefs, 3 Crusaders). It is true that the second most popular team was the Crusaders. It is false that the Chiefs are the least popular Super Rugby New Zealand Team. (Kian)

Max discovered that the most common way to travel to school was by car (8 people) while the least common was scooter (0 people). He also made the following statements about the data he collected -

the difference between the number of people that travel to school by bus and car is 1 person (3 bus, 2 car). It is true that 1 person that I talked to ran to school. It is false that 10 people come on a scooter to school. (Max)

Jackson discovered that the most common sport to play was soccer (5 people) while the least common was rugby (1 person). He also made the following statements about the data he collected -

the difference between the number of people who like to play cricket and rugby  is 1 person (2 cricket, 1 rugby). It is true that 2 people that I talked to liked to play hockey. It is false that 15 people’s favourite sport was netball. (Jackson)

Lilee discovered that the most common favourite farm animal was a dog (7 people) while the least common were cats, chickens and goats (1 person each). She also made the following statements about the data she collected -

the difference between the number of people that like horses and bunnies is 0 people (3 horses, 3 bunnies). It is true that 3 people that I talked to preferred horses. It is false that only 1 person said a dog was their favourite farm animal. (Lilee)

Frankie discovered that the most common favourite person in their family was mum (5 people) while the least common were brother and sisters (1 person each). She also made the following statements about the data she collected -

the difference between the number of people that preferred mum and nana is 3 people (5 mum, 2 nana). It is true that 2 people that I talked to said they like their dad best. It is false that 10 people said they liked their pop/grandad best in their family. (Frankie)

Benjamin discovered that the most commonly liked type of machine was the monster truck (11 people) while the least common was bulldozer and crane (0 people). He also made the following statements about the data he collected -

the difference between the number of people that liked tractors and cranes is 1 person (1 tractor, 0 crane). It is true that 3 people that I talked to preferred diggers. It is false that 7 people liked diggers as their favourite machine. (Benjamin)

The information the students collected, resulted in them asking deeper questions as to why the people they talked to chose to give the answers they did. They are keen to experiment with other types of present and analyse data they collect in the future.

Keywords:  bar graph, tally chart, question, true and false statements, difference statement, most common, least common, survey, axis, preference, analyse, present 

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