Questionnaire design

This is my first attempt at creating a ‘prezi’ presentation. I am not yet certain of the best way to ‘store it’ for future access, so have placed a link here for the time being.

The questionnaire to which it refers is below, or viewable here.

For those of you who are reading the questions and are perturbed by their nature, they are intended to be ‘thought provoking’.

Box and whisker

One drawback of Microsoft Excel is that it does not have a function that easily allows for a box-and-whisker diagram to be generated. By ‘fudging’ together a stacked bar chart with error bars, this image was generated using Excel alone. The benefit is that I can just ‘copy and paste’ new data and the diagrams will update automatically.

I am pleased with the outcome, and the idea is that I will use it as the basis of a ‘starter’ in a lesson, as well as lessons in the future. However, I question whether the effort involved in achieving this is worthwhile.

I guess only time will tell how many times it is used.

Keeping me on my toes

Today’s lesson on real-life graphs was based partly around Dan Meyer’s Graphing Stories (see here for the original). It was an introductory lesson for a set 2 class (out of 5) who I will only see 3 (yes, three) times as part of a rotation. I had already used it successfully in a similar manner with sets 3 and 4, so it formed a basis to quickly assess current understanding.

I was pleased with how the lesson transpired but, what stood out most was the repeated comment from one student: “that man must have been paid loads of money to make that video”.

First off, congratulations Dan – that student believes there’s an acting career waiting if all else were to fail. But second, this also demonstrates that these students are pretty sharp – I’m gonna have to keep on my toes for the remaining two lessons; I’m thinking something along the lines of an nrich task (see here or here).

Being nice prevents tooth decay

An article in today’s Daily Telegraph makes reference to a study that was carried out in order to identify a link between violence in teenagers and their drinking of fizzy drinks.

Almost 2,000 14 to 18-year-olds from 20 schools in Boston were asked how many cans of non-diet fizzy drink they had consumed over the past week and if they had been violent towards a peer, sibling or partner over the previous year.

From this sample and these questions, the article concludes that fizzy drinks addicts* were more likely to be violent to their peers [58 per cent for addicts versus 35 per cent for non-addicts], siblings [43% vs 25%] or partners [27% vs 15%]. As such, the newspaper opted for the headline ‘Fizzy drinks make teenagers violent’. However, there is no evidence that this is the case; the headline could equally have been ‘Violence makes teenagers consume fizzy drinks’, although my preference would be the one used as the title for this entry.

I understand that newspapers need to generate money, and catchy headlines are a significant way of aiding this, but I become frustrated by how misleading they can be. Is it any wonder that students respond like this in their exam**, when the world is full of so much conflicting information?


Thanks to David Spiegelhalter for bringing this article to my attention.


* An addict was classed as someone drinking more than fourteen fizzy drinks per week (two per day), whereas a non-addict as someone drinking a maximum of one can a week [quite what those in the middle are classed as, I am not sure].

** For information, the student actually achieved a grade C in their exam.

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