Numeracy: Data handling

Add to My Folder

This content has not been rated yet. (Write a review)

By John Spoonerteacher and freelance writer

Challenge children to identify the data necessary to find out whether statements are true or false


The statements in the following sections will give you ideas for similar challenges you can set for your class. For each one, ask the children to follow the process similar to the one outlined below to prove or disprove the statement. They can work in groups on different statements and share their results at the end of the lesson.

Take the following statement as an example. Children are required to identify, collect and analyse data that can be used to test the validity of the statement.

In the football Premier league, teams get 3 points for a win, 2 for a draw and 1 point for losing.

Lots of children will probably know that this statement is incorrect, but what sort of evidence would they be able to provide in support of their viewpoint? Would they use the ‘Everyone knows that’s not right!’ or ‘Because my mum told me!’ approaches, or would they be able to use data in support of their argument? Would they know where to find the data? Would they know how to read it and be able to select the data that’s required to support their case?

Testing statements

There are several things that need to be considered when testing statements. The six questions below will provide starting points for each statement you test. As an example, we will base the questions around this statement:

It’s impossible to do a standing long jump that measures more than two-thirds of your own height.

1. What are we trying to prove?

Begin by looking at the language used in the statement, paying particular attention to words that define the limits of the claim. For example every, average, approximately and exactly. The example statement uses the word impossible and so it can be disproved by finding someone who can jump a distance that is more than two-thirds their own height.

2. What is the action or object mentioned?

For the children to try out a standing long jump, they should stand with the toes of both feet touching a line. They then jump forwards from this standing position (without a run-up) and measure the distance travelled from the line.

Subscriber-only content

Scholastic Resource Bank: Primary - subscribe today!

  • Over 6,000 primary activities, lesson ideas and resources
  • Perfect for anyone working with children from 5 to 11 years old
  • Unlimited access – only £15 per year!