Teachers' Notes for Count Yourself In!
(use "Side-by-side" link to view the Student
Step One: Creating a Survey
issue of what to include in a survey is very important. When you have
discussions with students, be sure to spend time talking about matters
1. What "broad" categories ( eg sports, television watching, how people
get to school, number of adult teeth that have grown in, eating habits….)
do you think would help give people a really good picture of your life
as a student?
- Follow some of the Statistics links to see what Statistics Canada
counts when they try and "paint a picture" of what life is
like for Canadians. Talk to students about whether they might want to
use some of these categories, or add ones that they think would give
a better picture of their actual lives.
- Statistics Canada counts many things to give people a picture of
what life is like for Canadians over the age of 15.
- As a final step in the project, students will
be able to compare data they have generated with Statistics Canada
data about our population in general. There are real benefits to including
some of the same categories for purposes of comparison. There are
also real benefits to looking at what important information about their lives
adults might have ignored
- Discuss whether they think the picture of life
for them will look different from the life of adult Canadians.
2. Within each category, you and your students will need to decide
what kinds of specific questions students should ask people when they
start counting. Thus, under Sports, which specific sports do they think
they should collect data about? What's the best way of doing that? Can
they see any problems when they decide in advance which sports to include
in their survey, and which ones to leave out? Can they see any problems
if they just leave a blank under the word "Sports" and let people
fill in the names of the sports they play?
3. The question of how to define terms is going to come
up. If they are collecting data on television watching, for example, what
kinds of things will they need to agree on so that they are sure they
end up counting the same things when people fill out their survey?
4. Decide on a format for this questionnaire. Explore the importance of asking
questions in standard ways (both benefits and drawbacks) and how to organize
the questionnaire effectively. Look at the tables in the Statistics Canada section to get some
ideas about how to organize a questionnaire.
Step Two: Analyzing
you have collected all the data, students can start to look for patterns
in interesting ways. Here
are some things you could talk about:
1. Can you describe the life of a "typical" student from
your census? What can you say? If you want to introduce the idea of central
tendencies, this would be a place to talk about averages, or means. You
can explore the idea of range as well. What are the differences between
the "typical" profile, and the extremes? For example, what is
the average amount of time students spend on computers outside school?
What is the least amount of time anyone spent? The most? How close to
the "average" are these extremes, and why is that interesting
to know about?
2. How can we represent this data effectively?
3. If you are doing this with more than one classroom (either in your
school or in a telecollaborative project) have students look at close
their class is to the "average" in each category? Are there
places where they are different from the other classes? This is a place
to talk in general about how much difference counts as significant. How
much difference is worth paying attention to, and how much can you ignore?
4. Do they think the picture of the "average" student they
have drawn would apply to students all across Canada? This is a place
to talk about sample size and selection.
- Are there parts of the country where students of their age are likely to
be quite different from what they see here?
- Do they think they would have to survey every student in the country
to get a clear picture of what a "typical" Canadian of this
age would be like?
5. If you can say what life is like for an average student, how
would you answer a student who says, "But I'm not like that at all"?
This is a place to talk about how statistics lets you make generalizations
about populations. The reverse process is not possible, however: you cannot
go from a generalized statement about a group of students to say that
this is what any particular student must then be like.
6. Go back to the Statistics Canada data on the Canadian population.
Here are some questions you could explore:
- How old are the people Statistics Canada surveyed?
Why is there so little information collected about people under 12?
- Using the categories that they used from the
Statistics Canada list, in what ways are their lives similar to the
lives of older people in Canada