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Media claims activity

The Belief in the Media: Student Worksheet provides questions about the following extract.


About six in 10 United States high school students say they could get a hand gun if they wanted one, a third of them within an hour, a survey shows. The poll of 2508 junior and senior high school students in Chicago also found 15 per cent had actually carried a hand gun within the past 30 days, with 4 per cent taking one to school.


Some points to note include:

  • terminology: uses 'survey' and 'poll' interchangeably
  • context: 2508 high school students surveyed in Chicago
  • critical questioning: includes a non-representative sample.

The activity accommodates the first three stages of the teaching advice for using media in the classroom. The final stage — reflecting on the experience — is enacted by the teacher after classroom use.


The extract may draw attention to US culture rather than the non-representative sample used.


Be aware students may:

  • say 2508 is a 'good' survey size, or say it is too small and 'all students in the US' should have been asked
  • believe Chicago is typical of the entire US
  • question how the survey was carried out.


Make repeated requests to focus on all of the information in the extract to ensure the students' attention becomes focussed on the sampling method.

Curriculum links

Year 10: Evaluate statistical reports in the media and other places by linking claims to displays, statistics and representative data