Why do this problem?
is a great way for children to interrogate data and really think about possible reasons for trends, rather than just accepting conclusions without digging deeper. They have an opportunity not just to interpret data, but to collect data for a purpose (comparison).
You could look at the table as a whole class and encourage learners to discuss the questions in groups. (You may find it helpful to give learners a copy of the problem by printing this sheet
.) Listen out for children who are suggesting plausible reasons for the pattern of data. In a mini plenary you can invite everyone to share their thoughts,
and to offer some questions of their own.
This discussion will be a good precursor for learners conducting their own survey. Encourage presentation of their findings in a variety of different ways so that you can build a display in the classroom.
Once their results are displayed (perhaps several days later), you can gather the group as a whole to look at them collectively. You could add comments from the children to the display as they make comparisons with the original data.
Although the UK no longer takes part in Census at School, other countries do (for example Ireland) and you can see the questionnaires as well as the reports from previous years online.
How will you collect your own data?
Will you ask everyone individually?
How will you record what they say?
How many people are you going to ask?
How will you work out the percentage of people using each method of travel?
Children could be encouraged to interrogate other surveys in newspapers or magazines in a similar way. You could collect some suitable articles for them to look at and challenge them to ask questions about the data presented.
Software packages can help pupils present their findings in a number of different ways.