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Teaching critical questioning

The activity Analysing Media Reports: Student Worksheet leads students through a careful analysis of the data presented, as well as an example of the need to check 'simple' percentage claims. The Analysing Media Reports: Possible Answers can also be downloaded.

This activity is appropriate to use as a lesson when the opportunity arises to question reports involving statistics presented in the media. Errors may or may not be involved but it is the questioning attitude that needs to be developed. Students need lots of practice asking good probing questions.

When reading an article, students need to:

  • find the statistical terminology
  • ask themselves what they think it means
  • ask how the article is using that terminology or how the statistic was calculated.

They should read the article critically to see if the claims made are reasonable based on the information available.

They should think of questions to ask the writer.

Curriculum links

Year 9: Investigate reports of surveys in digital media and elsewhere for information on how data were obtained to estimate population means and medians