Drivers avoid club scene

It is important for students to work with mathematical information relevant to their lives and understand mathematics as a part of everyday life. The article 'Drivers avoid club scene' provides at least three opportunities for discussion in a middle school classroom. Firstly, there is the opportunity to calculate percentages, for example, associated with the proportion of offences against Melbourne cabbies caused by unlawful assault, armed robbery, etc.

Secondly, the students can represent their information visually. The question asks the student to create a strip graph and then a pie chart for the two sets of data. This enables you to explore how different methods of presenting the same data can convey different messages, and how some ways may be more appropriate than others. As the students draw conclusions and discuss their findings they are effectively communicating information about data and making decisions based on valid interpretations of the data.

Thirdly, the article offers an excellent opportunity to describe 'what is' (question 1&2) and predict 'what might be'(question 3&4). As the students predict the yearly figures from July 2000 to June 2001 they will begin to look for a pattern in the data. This can be made more explicit as the students discuss their findings with the class. The final question asks the students to predict the factors that could influence the offences against Melbourne cabbies in the next 6 months. The students may brainstorm factors and discuss their implications, this allows for integration with other key learning areas such as English and SOSE for example:

Based on the findings can we suggest that unemployment effects crime? How might we go about finding this out?

The students can suggest ways to reduce the number of offences against Melbourne cab drivers and make connections between human actions and mathematical data.

(Written by Nerissa Meek, BTeach student, University of Tasmania, 2001)

Where to next?

Newspaper article
Student Questions for this article
Index - Related articles
Index - Data Representation
Main Index - Numeracy in the News