Playing Favourites


The purpose of this activity is to engage students in carrying out a statistical investigation with an emphasis on sorting data into categories.

Achievement Objectives
S2-1: Conduct investigations using the statistical enquiry cycle: posing and answering questions; gathering, sorting, and displaying category and whole-number data; communicating findings based on the data.
Description of Mathematics

In readiness for this investigation, the students should have familiarity with each of the stages of the PPDAC cycle:

  • problem - posing a question to investigate
  • plan - planning an investigation
  • data - collecting and recording whole number and category data
  • analysis - sorting data, including frequency plots
  • conclusion - making summary statements from data displays

This activity may be carried out with guidance, or by allowing the student to manage their investigation independently. Students could be encouraged to read beyond the data. The approach should be chosen in sympathy with students’ skills and depth of understanding.



For a shared lunch, a student wants to bring along the most popular type of dessert. 
What would this be in your class?

  1. Pose a question to investigate.
  2. Collect data from your class.
  3. Sort your data into appropriate categories.
  4. Display your data.
  5. What did you find out?


The procedural approach (show more)

  • The student is able to carry out a statistical investigation and to sort the data so that the question posed is answered.

The conceptual approach (show more)

  • The student is able to carry out a statistical investigation, to sort the data, answer the question and suggest possible limitations of the investigation.

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