What are we eating?


The purpose of this activity is to engage students in discussion, evaluating the effectiveness of different data displays in presenting the findings of a statistical investigation.

Achievement Objectives
S3-2: Evaluate the effectiveness of different displays in representing the findings of a statistical investigation or probability activity undertaken by others.
Description of Mathematics

The background knowledge and skills that should be established before and/or during this activity are outlined in the diagram below:

Click to show example questions for each heading

This activity may be carried out with step by step guidance, or by allowing the student to follow their own method of solution. The approach should be chosen in sympathy with students' skills and depth of understanding.


A reporter is writing an article about how our eating habits have changed over the past thirty years.

She looked at what types of food people typically consumed in 1985 and in 2015.

Her results are shown in the table and graphs below. The graphs have not been labelled yet, but will be when the article is complete.

If she arguing that nowadays we are less aware of what we are eating, which type of graph will be the most powerful to support her article? Give reasons for your choice.

Type of Food Consumed (by weight) 1985 2015
Raw and home prepared 60% 19%
Pre-prepared and/or packaged 15% 42%
Fast food, canteens and bakeries 7% 31%
Restaurant and other 14% 8%



The procedural approach  (show more)

  • The student is able to identify aspects of different data displays and use these to compare the effectiveness of the displays at conveying a message.

The conceptual approach  (show more)

  • The student is able to evaluate the effectiveness of the displays at conveying a message.
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Level Three