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Challenging this claim will provide students with an opportunity to check their own distance from the route, then to collect data for the class. This can be compared with data nationally or within a particular region of the UK, using the distance tool for the torch relay on the Sport at School website.
This is an interesting context in which to look at comparing data sets using averages and spread.
"Do you think our class is typical? What sort of different answers do you think classes would get in different schools, rural ones, urban ones, big schools, little schools...?"
There are datasets available from the Sport at School website to follow up on this discussion.
Then collect the data on distances - either as the crow flies or by road - for the class. Then calculate an average (which one?) and a measure of spread (which one?) to characterise the data.
For a different context in which to explore the importance of considering spread as well as average, see How Would You Score It?
Which average should we use? Why?
What are the advantages of using that average? What are the disadvantages?
Is the average enough on its own to tell us all we need to know about our data? Why not?
Which measure of spread should we use (if students know more than one)? Why?
What are the advantages and disadvantages?