US public tips Brockovich to knock down Gladiator

While the mathematics concepts may not be particularly challenging to all students, such an article provides the opportunity to practice and look again at a broad sweep of mathematics concepts. It can lead into a discussion about how much mathematics there is in the newspaper and everyday texts and how often you need to have an understanding in lots of different concepts to read one article.

* Why did the reporter use so many numbers in his article? As a class you may wish to look at why we use numbers. Could the reporter express the same information without using numbers or mathematic concepts?

* You could look at polls. What is a poll? How are polls used? The students can conduct their own poll of the five films nominated and see if they come up with the same result. You can discuss demographics, sample size and you could compare the class results to another class.

* The class could compile a list of nominations for other movies. Shortlist or nominate five movies from that list and conduct your own Academy Awards. You can use your own criteria that your class has decided on, conduct polls and see who wins and relate all the data and discuss the process.


Who decided the result?
Could this result have changed if we had different criteria?
Would this result be the same in another class?

You can also explore the vast amount of money involved in the Film industry. How much does Julia Roberts make per film? Compare the money to how many Playstations that could buy or how many schools it could fund or compare it to the basic wage!

You could then look at the costs involved in making a movie. You could look at the series Survivor and discuss all the things that are behind the scenes. Are they really alone in the Australian Outback?

This article illustrates the high levels of literacy and numeracy required for deciphering and analysing the most common or everyday news item.

(Written by Heidi Van Rijswijk, BTeach student, University of Tasmania, 2001)

Where to next?

Newspaper article
Student Questions for this article
Index - Related articles
Index - Chance and Basic Probability
Main Index - Numeracy in the News