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Activity: Culturally locating students in our class

AOs | Indicators | Outcomes | Snapshot | Learning experiences
Cross curricular |  Assessment | Spotlight | Links


We need to know who we are as a group of individuals and as a class. We are going to be working and learning together all year and we need to establish our class as a mathematics and statistics learning community so members actively contribute as learners. This puts everyone in the class, including the teacher, on an equal footing as no one is holding the knowledge.

The key competencies of participating and contributing and relating to others are as important as the mathematics and statistics focus on the data collection aspect PPDAC cycle.

About expectations:
"I think it’s about recognising that we, as teachers, don’t know everything and that our role is often about stepping back to be that facilitator and realising that you’re not the expert. Really, my expertise is the motivating, encouraging, and supporting. I feel it’s about having high and real expectations of students and making them believe that they can do it."

About the classroom:
"I ask the students what would help them learn better in the classroom – for example, I give them a say in lesson content."

Ka Hikitia – Managing for Success

Achievement objectives

  • S6-1 Plan and conduct investigations using the statistical enquiry cycle.
  • S6-3 Investigate situations that involve elements of chance.

If measurement is involved in the data gathering:

  • GM6-1 Measure at a level of precision appropriate to the task.
  • GM6-2 Apply the relationships between units in the metric system, including the units for measuring different attributes and derived measures.


  • Selects appropriate units for measuring tasks.
  • Identifies limits of accuracy for a measurement.
  • Estimates sensibly.
  • Converts between units.
  • Uses the statistical enquiry cycle to conduct investigations:
    • Poses investigative questions.
    • Selects, uses, and justifies variables and their measures to use in order to solve a problem.
    • Uses a variety of data collection methods, such as web survey, face-to-face questionnaire, and automated computer logs.
    • Collects and manages data.
    • Uses appropriate statistical graphs and tables to explore the data, and communicates relevant detail and overall distributions.
    • Explores summary, comparative, bivariate, and time series data.
    • Links multiple representations and sees the connections between them.
    • Writes and presents a concise and informative report that includes:
      • communicating features in context
      • relevant summary statistics, graphs, and tables to support the findings of the investigation
      • quantitative and qualitative statements
      • justified conclusions.
  • Students learn that situations involving real data from statistical investigation can be investigated from a probabilistic perspective.

Specific learning outcomes

  • Understanding similarities and differences amongst members of the class.
  • Establishing a shared understanding of the classroom culture and of a learning environment.
  • Understanding the PPDAC cycle.
  • Being able to ask good questions.
  • Designing methods of collecting data, both quantitative and qualitative.

Diagnostic snapshot(s)

This activity is gathering information – in a sense it is a diagnostic snapshot.

About relationships:

"We [teachers] have to know our kids – that means we have to talk to them. We’ve got to know what they did yesterday; we’ve got to get them to share their lives with us."

Ka Hikitia – Managing for Success

Planned learning experiences

We want to know more about the people in this class.

What data to we want to gather and how are we going to do it?

Data to collect could include:

  • sports
  • cultural background
  • jobs
  • method of travel to school
  • distance to school
  • time taken to travel to school
  • issues of concern
  • hobbies
  • interests
  • attitudes to maths
  • physical measurements, for example, heights.

See CensusAtSchool for ideas on questions that could be asked and how the data could be collected.

Options for gathering data include:

  • Designing a questionnaire for collecting qualitative data, for example, Survey Monkey. The teacher can help by providing examples and maybe putting questions into the survey generator and downloading data into Excel to analyse. This could lead to exploration about survey question design to ensure data is valid.
  • Using tools for quantitative data, for example, a ruler for measuring height; a watch for timing how long to travel to school.

Collecting the data could be done individually or in groups.

What do we do with the data we have gathered? Does the data need cleaning?

Investigate appropriate methods for data display including two-way tables, dot plots, and scatter plots.

What stories does our data tell us?

Questions to explore could include:

  • Are we typical of our year level?
  • Are we typical of other students in the country?
  • What is the probability that a student in year 11 in this school is Pasifika and studies both maths and art?

Where to from here?

Identify issue of interest and investigate, for example:

  • Water shortage - Activity: Water woes
  • Raising the age for a driving licence
  • Carbon tax
  • Recycling (see links to Education for Sustainability and Enviroschools)
  • Tax on cigarettes
  • Raising GST
  • Renewable resources
  • Drinking age

Identify student background, cultural identity, and interests. Locate and use resources based on information collected; for example, Pasifika resources by Robin Averill from NZAMT online.

Cross curricular links

  • Social studies
  • Physical education

Planned assessment

Self and/or peer assessment of key competencies:

KC_self-assessment (Word, 38 KB)

This teaching and learning activity could lead towards assessment in the following achievement standards, depending on the actual achievement objectives focused on:

Or as evidence towards the three numeracy unit standards: measurement and statistics.

Spotlight on


  • Creating a supportive learning environment:
    • Respecting and valuing the mathematics and cultures that students bring to the classroom.
  • Facilitating shared learning:
    • Shaping mathematical and statistical language.
  • Making connections to prior learning and experience:
    • Checking prior knowledge using a variety of diagnostic strategies.
    • Providing real-life problems in which the context is relevant to students.

Key competencies

  • Relating to others:
    • Students compare data about themselves with others.
  • Participating and contributing
    • Students work cooperatively as effective members of a group.


Students will be encouraged to value:

  • excellence, by aiming high and by persevering in the face of difficulties
  • diversity, as found in our different cultures, languages, and heritages
  • community and participation for the common good
  • integrity, which involves being honest, responsible, and accountable and acting ethically
  • and to respect themselves, others, and human rights.


Providing for content and language learning

  • Know your learners - their language background, language proficiency, experiential background.
    • What do you know about your students' language skills?
    • What do you know about their prior knowledge?
    • How will you find out this information?
    • How will it affect your planning?

'To establish a direction for teaching and learning, teachers need to be able to identify students’ interests, prior knowledge, and cultural backgrounds.'

(ESOL Online)


Download a Word version of this activity:

Activity_Culturally locating our students (Word, 64 KB)

Last updated September 14, 2020