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MAT 09 – Unlucky Lara

You can download this activity, the teacher solutions and the assessment rubric as a rich text file (RTF) at the bottom of the page.

    Subject Area



    Students use a frequency table of use of wash basins to question, hypothesise, interpret results, discuss results and form conclusions. The students can conduct their own survey as an extension question.


    Unlucky Lara

    Lara thinks that she is unlucky.

    Every time Lara washes her hands at school, she uses the same basin. She believes that each time she washes her hands, and uses her ‘favourite’ basin, there is no soap. It seems to her that this happens to her more often than it happens to her friends.

    Lara’s friend Tiffany supposes that maybe Lara uses the basin at school that is the most frequently used, so the soap runs out faster. Tiffany likes to use the basin furthest away from the door, because she thinks it’s the least used. Lara admits she uses the basin closest to the door, because it’s the closest.

    1. Write down some ideas that will allow Lara and Tiffany to figure out which basin is the most used.

    2. Before collecting any data, it is important to develop a question or hypothesis to investigate. Write a question or hypothesis for Lara and Tiffany’s investigation.


    Lara and Tiffany decide to conduct a survey. Along with three friends, Lara and Tiffany make up a sample of 5 female students. They decide to survey their use of the basins for one school day. This table presents the results of the survey.

    3. What are the results from Lara and Tiffany’s survey? Write a paragraph describing the results.

    4. Discuss with examples whether Lara and Tiffany’s survey supports Lara’s theory that she is unlucky, and Tiffany’s theory on soap usage.

    5. Based on the results of Lara and Tiffany’s survey, which basin would you use and why? Write a conclusion for your question/hypothesis (Q2) based on your results (Q3) and discussion (Q4).


    6. Conduct your own survey to investigate Lara and Tiffany’s theories.


    Student Worksheet

    Teacher Solutions

    Assessment Rubric

Commonwealth of Australia 2008

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