Te Kete Ipurangi Navigation:

Te Kete Ipurangi

Te Kete Ipurangi user options:

Senior Secondary navigation


Activity: Chocolate statistical literacy

Purpose | AO | Indicators | Outcomes | Snapshot

Learning experiences | Cross curricular | Assessment | Spotlight


Encourage understanding of statistical reports in the media.

Achievement objective

In a range of meaningful contexts, students will be engaged in thinking mathematically and statistically. They will solve problems and model situations that require them to:

  • S7-3 Evaluate statistically based reports.


  • In a media report on a survey or a poll, identifies and evaluates, using critical questions, sampling methods and possible non-sampling errors such as self-selection, non response bias, behavioural considerations.

Specific learning outcomes

Students will be able to:

  • evaluate the statistical claims made in a report
  • write a summary of their evaluation.

Diagnostic snapshot(s)

Use class discussion to identify prior knowledge of statistical terms, such as:

  • variables of interest
  • types of data
  • types of investigative questions (summary, comparison, relationship)
  • survey questions
  • population
  • sample.

Use a dataset to explore the statistical terms, for example, Time Use Survey.

Planned learning experiences

Discuss a statistically based report

The students in this example are studying a Stuff article about chocolate and health and a British Medical Journal report, which is referred to in the Stuff article.

The students work in small groups to discuss the statistical claims in the BMJ report.

Ask the students to answer critical questions (see below) to focus their discussion of the claims made in the report. (Pre-select the critical questions appropriate to the chosen report.)

Critical questions

  • What data is displayed in the report?
  • What type of data is it – categorical or numerical?
  • How is the data displayed in the report?
  • Are displays or measures included that are appropriate for the type of data?
  • What summary statistics are used in the report?
  • How accurate is the data?
  • From where does the data quoted or used in the report come?
  • What survey questions were asked?
  • Are the survey questions appropriate?
  • Could the survey questions be misinterpreted or not give the data needed?
  • What are the variables of interest?
  • How are the variables of interest measured?
  • Do the comments (descriptions) made in the report reflect the given data accurately?
  • Are any comments misleading or biased?
  • Could alternative analyses be made? If so, what?
  • Could the data be interpreted in another way? If so, what?
  • What important data or information is not present?
  • What question(s) is the report answering? (What is the investigative question/s?)
  • Who is the report intended to be about? (Who is the intended population?)
  • Who is the report aimed at? (Who might be interested in the outcomes?)
  • What is the purpose of the report?
  • What further information is needed?
  • Are there any underlying or lurking variables that may have an impact on the outcome?
  • Are the claims made in the statistically based reports valid and/or sensible?

Write an evaluation of a statistically based report

Students working in pairs write a summary paragraph evaluating the statistical claims made by the report, and report back to the whole class.

You may wish to adapt the reporting template below. (Look first at the report being studied to decide which aspects of the template are appropriate.)

The class discusses the pair reports and develops a whole-class response (an evaluation exemplar). 

Summary: (A one-paragraph summary of the statistically based report that identifies its purpose and the population of interest.)
Description of measures and representation of variables: Evaluation
Description of sampling method(s): Evaluation
Description of survey method(s): Evaluation
Description of sampling and possible non-sampling errors: Evaluation
Description of the sample size: Evaluation
Overall evaluation of the effectiveness of the statistically based report.

Possible adaptations of this activity

Choose other reports related to chocolate (see examples below) or choose another engaging context and find reports related to it.

Newspaper and magazine articles on topics of interest often refer to or summarise statistical reports. The articles are usually insufficiently detailed for level 7, but the report(s) from which they are derived will normally be appropriate.

Heart disease and chocolate

Statistical report Chocolate consumption and cardiometabolic disorders: systematic review and meta-analysis in the British Medical Journal (BMJ 2011; 343: d4488) suggesting that chocolate may be good for heart health.

Media articles related to this statistical report:

Analysis of the report by British National Health Services:

Women and chocolate

Statistical report Chocolate Consumption and Risk of Stroke in Women (PDF 428KB) (2011) in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (vol. 58 no. 17).

Cross-curricular links

  • Health (healthy eating, lifestyle choices)

Planned assessment

This teaching and learning activity could lead towards assessment in the following achievement standard:

Spotlight on


  • Creating a supportive learning environment by:
    • listening to and accepting all student responses as part of the learning process
    • valuing student contributions
    • being aware of literacy implications of mathematical and statistical tasks.
  • Facilitating shared learning by:
    • appropriate groupings of students
    • students working in groups.

Key competencies

  • Relating to others:
    • Working as a group, understanding others’ thinking, accepting and valuing differing viewpoints, negotiating meaning.
  • Participating and contributing:
    • Working co-operatively as effective members of a group.


Students will be encouraged to value:

  • innovation, inquiry, and curiosity, by thinking critically, creatively, and reflectively
  • integrity, which involves being honest, responsible, and accountable and acting ethically.


Planning for content and language learning

  • Identify the learning outcomes including the language demands of the teaching and learning:
    • What language do the students need to complete the task?
    • Do the students know what the content and language learning outcomes are?
  • Ensure a balance between receptive and productive language.
    • Are the students using both productive (speaking, writing) and receptive (listening, reading) language in this lesson?

Last updated February 21, 2023