Collecting and Analyzing Data

The Soda Survey

Surveys are an excellent way to integrate a variety of mathematical concepts. Surveys enable students to compute basic statistics like the mean, median, and mode as well as chart results in the form of frequency (or bar) charts and pie charts. Also, students can calculate the ratio of those surveyed to a larger group such as the entire school. For example, if 25 of the 100 students surveyed liked 7-Up, then you could expect that 200 of the 800 students in the school would also like 7-Up if you surveyed a representative sample of students in the first place. What constitutes a good sample is another issue that you can discuss as part these lessons.

This file contains 3 lessons for the soda survey data. Each lesson may take more than one day. Lesson 1 gets students to create a survey and plan who will be surveyed. Lesson 2 requires students to organize the data and discuss how it will be analyzed. Lesson 3 allows students to analyze the data and make charts. The degree to which students analyze data will depend upon their knowledge of specific math concepts. For example, it is possible for students to use ratios as a basis for estimating how many students in the school might prefer a particular soda.

Math Objective

Collect and analyze data

Compute fractions, decimals and percents, ratios.

Compute the mean, median, and mode.


  • Ability to design a survey
  • Organize survey data on a spreadsheet
  • Create charts that represent the data
  • Apply math concepts in the context of the survey data


What To Do


survey forms


Files to Use

Download Info/Instructions

Grid Worksheets (math concepts lesson)


Pie Charts (math concepts lesson)


Lesson 1

Lesson 2

Lesson 3


Lesson 1 - Creating the Survey

Teacher Note: This lesson will culminate in a survey that students will use outside of class. The next lesson, Lesson 2, is based on analyzing the survey data. Please allow time for students to conduct the survey as you plan these lessons.


Classroom Discussion and Activities (Whole Group or Teams)

Design the Survey

Begin class by discussing students' favorite food, soda, clothing, or music. Discuss ways in which these things change in their popularity. Give an example of how there may be a big difference between the number of students who like the most popular soda and those who like the second most popular soda. Suveys are a way to explore these issues systematically.

In making a survey, it is very important that you first decide what questions you want answered. Make sure that you are asking all of the questions that interest you. There won't be time to go back to those surveyed to get more information.





Be sure to discuss with the students the importance of getting a range of students to answer the survey. Just getting their friends or one "type" or grade level of students may not be a good indicator of how everyone in the school feels about a certain soda.

Once the class has determined what type of students they are going to ask, how many, and when they will ask them (in class, during lunch, etc.), they are ready to conduct the survey.

Lesson 2 - Organizing the Data and Planning the Analysis

Teacher Note: Make sure that students fill out a chart with all of the data before they go to the lab. You can use Grid Worksheets as a template for creating column and row names as well as entering the data. Also, you will need to work as a group if different students have collected survey data.

Also, it is critical to this lesson that students understand how key math concepts apply to the data. Stress the concepts as you discuss the data. Review the relationship between fractions and decimals as different ways to express the same number.







Lesson 3 - Analyzing the Data

Teacher Note: Once students have completed their data sheets, they are ready to enter the data in a spreadsheet and analyze it. You may want to have the students enter the data themselves or create your own "master" data file that they use in the lab. All of this depends on your objectives (e.g., learning how to set up spreadsheet files, how to make charts, use percents and decimals).