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CensusAtSchool Australia

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Back to CensusAtSchool home page CaSMa02 - Does Your Rock & Roll Still Rock?

You can download this activity, the teacher solutions and the assessment rubric for this activity as a rich text file (RTF) at the bottom of the page. Download our printer friendly Prepared Samples as Excel files or access data using the Random Sampler.

Subject AreaMathematics

Key Statistical Literacy Competencies Addressed
  • Data awareness
  • The ability to understand statistical concepts
  • The ability to analyse, interpret and evaluate statistical information
  • Communicating statistical information and understandings

OverviewIn this activity you are asked to review and suggest improvements to a school radio station program. This will involve using and assessing the usefulness of primary data sources available to you such as a class survey and CensusAtSchool.

  • Computer with internet connection
  • Spreadsheet software
  • Calculator
  • Pens and paper
  • Student Worksheet


John Books (Librarian) and Fred Web (I.T. Teacher), otherwise known as Johnny B and Freddy W are budding DJs at Sampler College (K – Year 12 co-educational school). For the past 3 months they have been broadcasting a live to air school radio program twice a week at lunchtime. Things seemed to be running smoothly until they were invited, by the School Captain, to attend a Junior School Council (JSC) meeting regarding their radio program. During the meeting the following email was presented. This is one of many unhappy responses that they have had about the radio station.

Dear Junior School Council,

When I found out that you were starting a school radio station, I was really excited, because I thought it would be a great way to find out about what’s happening around the school and most importantly to listen to some great music at lunchtime. The news and birthday messages are good, but the choice of music has been really disappointing! I know that Johnny B and Freddy W are both into Rock and Roll but they seem to play the same old things, all the time.

I know that I speak on behalf of my class when I say that I would rather watch grass grow than listen to Rock and Roll. It just doesn’t rock anymore! Already, students are playing in parts of the school yard where they can avoid listening to the music.

Please change the music to what we really want or consider changing the DJs.

Yours regretfully,
A heavy-hearted Hip Hop fan

One councillor suggested doing a survey to find out students’ favourite music styles. Miss Pink (Maths Teacher) says this would be a great investigation for her class to carry out. She said her class will come back to the JSC with some tables and graphs illustrating their results and some suggestions to improve the format of the radio program. The JSC, Mr Books and Mr Web thought this was a good idea.

Task One: What Styles of Music Does Your Class Like?

1. Conduct a survey with your class to find out what music they would like played on the radio station. Please note each student can select more than one style.

2. Record your data in a table like the one below.

TABLE: Students' Favourite Music Styles
Music Styles
Number of Student Votes
Country & Western
Punk Rock
Rap/Hip Hop
Rhythm and Blues
Rock and Roll

3. Decide on an appropriate way to graph the results from the table so you can present your findings to the Junior School Council.

4. What are the most popular music styles?

5. What are the least popular music styles?

Task Two: Is your class too small?

Miss Pink liked the survey results but raised a concern “Is our class too small a sample to reliably indicate the tastes of students? We don’t cover all year levels.”

One way of getting a larger sample would be to use the CensusAtSchool Random Sampler. This would be a terrific way to get a large sample of data, especially since teachers were sick and tired of their classes being interrupted to complete surveys. Another way is to follow the link at the bottom of the page to download an Excel spreadsheet of 200 student responses generated using the Random Sampler.

6. Go to the CensusAtSchool Random Sampler and get a sample of at least 50 students from your state/territory. Students will need to be drawn from a range of year levels. (You can try to get a sample from a postcode range that covers your school but, please be aware that successfully getting a sample will depend on how many students submitted a questionnaire. The larger the postcode range the greater the chance of getting a sample)

Reference year Select Year
Select questions All

7. Record your data in a table similar to the one above.
( Hint: It will be easier to count the number of students in each category if you sort the data first. If you are good at Excel it will be even easier if you use the COUNTIF function to do the counting for you)

8. Graph the results from the table.

9. What does this larger sample tell you about students’ music tastes? Does it differ from your class results?

10. Based on all the data you have gained, does Rock and Roll still rock?

Task Three: Your presentation for the JSC

11. Create a presentation for the next JSC meeting, based on your analysis of the class survey and CensusAtSchool sample. Include a new program format for the radio show, showing how you could incorporate students’ favourite music styles into the format as well as elements of the show that are working well. Add any other suggestions you have for improving the show.

Download the Activity

Student Worksheet

Teacher Solutions

Assessment Rubric

    Commonwealth of Australia 2008

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