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Learning objects Matchbox machine

TLF ID L2340

Check whether a machine is packing most matchboxes with an acceptable number of matches (40–60 matches per box). Take a sample of 100 matchboxes and make a boxplot to analyse the results. Sort the sample data into four equal groups. Identify the range, median, first and third quartile values. Position the data points to build a boxplot. Take more samples and plot the variation by building a sequence of boxplots on a graph. Identify conclusions supported by the evidence. Practise building more boxplots and checking more samples. This learning object is a combination of two objects in the same series.

Educational details

Key learning objectives
  • Students identify the maximum, minimum, median, first and third quartiles from a set of data.
  • Students construct and interpret boxplots.
  • Students analyse sample variation by constructing and interpreting boxplots.
Educational value
  • Helps students to analyse sample variation by constructing and interpreting boxplots.
  • Features automatic collation of sample results.
  • Highlights maximum, median, quartile and minimum values in an array.
  • Emphasises the importance of sorting data before analysis.
  • Provides drill practice to reinforce the five-point summary needed to construct a boxplot.
  • Demonstrates why some quartile values are not whole numbers.
  • Tests understanding of data interpretation by getting students to restate conclusions.
  • Provides a range of alternative answers, including scenarios where the evidence supports more than one conclusion.
Year level


Learning area
  • mathematics
  • Mathematics/Statistics and probability
    • Mathematics/Summary statistics
    • Mathematics/Surveys
    • Mathematics/Sampling
    • Mathematics/Statistics
    • Mathematics/Data analysis
    • Mathematics/Data collection
    • Knowledge;
    • Comprehension;
    • Application;
    • Analysis
    Student activity
    • Interactives;
    • Analysis;
    • Modelling;
    • Data manipulation and interpretation
    Learning design
    • Experiential learning;
    • Independent learning;
    • Problem solving;
    • Visual learning

    Other details

    • Script writer
    • Name: Michael Wagner
    • Organisation: Godwin + Wagner
    • Address: Box Hill South VIC 3128 Australia
    • Subject matter expert
    • Name: Sue Ferguson
    • Organisation: Sue Ferguson Consulting Pty Ltd
    • Address: Northcote VIC 3070 Australia
    • Educational validator
    • Name: Graham Jones
    • Address: Broadbeach QLD 4218 Australia
    • Technical implementer
    • Publisher
    • Date of contribution: 20 Sep 2013
    • Organisation: Education Services Australia
    • Address: Melbourne VIC 3000 Australia
    • URL:
    Access profile
    • Colour independence
    • Device independence
    • Hearing independence
    Learning resource type
    • Interactive Resource
    • Microsoft Internet Explorer - minimum version: 8.0 (MS-Windows) - maximum version: 9.0 (MS-Windows)
    • Firefox - minimum version: (MS-Windows)
    • Safari - minimum version: 5.1 (MacOS)
    Operating systems
    • MacOS - minimum version: 10.6
    • MS-Windows - minimum version: XP - maximum version: 7
    • © Education Services Australia Ltd, 2013, except where indicated under Acknowledgements.