Developing Critical Numeracy Across the Curriculum

Teaching Activity

Myth, fact or fiction?

How do we know if something is true?
8/9  Stage: 10/11
with emphasis on:

Maths Concepts: Surveying
Context: Society
Critical Numeracy: De-coding, Meaning-making, Using, Analysing
Date of Article: 4/02/08, pg 5
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Student Worksheet
Student Worksheet Answers

Teacher Guidelines:

This article is based on a survey by a UK TV channel in which people are asked if characters are real or fictional - many do not know.  This leads to an interesting discussion of  how easy it is for myths to become part of accepted knowledge. This has major implications for students who do searches on the internet - how do we validate the information?

Students might think that this confusion with fact and fiction might happen to other people so in this activity we ask students to carry out their own survey to find out what misconceptions there might be amongst their peers.

Orienting Questions

How do we know if something is real?

De-coding and Meaning-making

Students define the difference between myth, fact and fiction and perform some simple calculations based on the data provided in the article.


The students are asked to conduct a survey of their own to determine whether their peers think certain Australian characters are fact or fiction.


What processes or thinking strategies could student develop so they can determine the validity of information? What sites are likely to be good sources and which aren't? How could they triangulate?

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