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Escape the winter blues all year round

Unit overview

Students use nominated websites to gather temperature data in their quest to live in a moderate climate for an entire year. The scenario for the statistical investigation is predetermined. The focus is to locate, examine, gather, manipulate, analyse and present temperature data, explaining decisions made in the form of a written report.

Achievement objectives

Maths – major focus

Statistics, Level Three

Students will:

  • collect and display discrete numeric data as appropriate
  • use their own language to talk about the distinctive features in their own data displays

Mathematical Processes, Level Three

Students will:

  • interpret information and results in context (DL&R)
  • report the results of mathematical explorations concisely and coherently (CMI).

English – minor focus

Transactional Writing, Level Three

Students will:

  • write explanations and express personal viewpoints, [in the form of a written report], sequencing ideas logically and making language choices appropriate to the audience.

Processing Information, Level Three

Students will:

  • gather, select, record, interpret, and present coherent, structured information from a variety of sources, using different technologies and explaining the processes used.

Specific learning outcomes

Students will be able to:

  • use bookmarked websites to locate relevant data
  • examine, gather, manipulate, analyse and present data in data tables and bar graphs, (this may involve using Excel or similar programme)
  • organise data in the form of a written report explaining reasons for data selection, (this may involve using other websites)
  • discuss and consider other possible data selections.


What if you could visit a pleasant environment where maximum temperatures range from 24 to 30°C all year round?

Your mission is to examine patterns and fluctuations in temperature data from locations around New Zealand and Australia. Creating tables and graphs will help you decide the times during the year that these locations would be nice to visit.

These symbols mean the following:

- Your Choice

- Helpful Hints


The main goal of this activity is to try and stay within New Zealand and Australia for the entire year in three to five locations where the maximum temperatures range between 24-30°C. Many places have nice temperatures during part of the year, but then move to warm or cold extremes at other times. As the weather becomes too warm or too cold you will need to move to another location where the climate is more moderate. If the new location reaches an extreme temperature before the end of the year, then you will need to move again.

Locating, examining and gathering data

You will be looking at data of average maximum temperature values from locations within New Zealand and Australia. Your objective is to find three to five locations that have moderate temperatures ranging from 24-30°C during parts of the year. Also, the temperatures in all of your locations should go above 30°C or below 24°C during some point during the year. (In other words, you are not allowed to stay in one location that has moderate temperatures for the entire year!) You must spend at least two months of the year in New Zealand.

Visit these two locations to gather your data:

New Zealand site

Australian site

You may find it helpful to discuss your location choices with others and consider their choices before you begin manipulating your data.

Manipulating your data

Now you have found the data you need your next task is to construct tables and graphs to show why you have chosen specific locations, (see Graphing with Microsoft Excel). You are required to present your data in a data table and a bar graph showing average monthly maximums for each location.

The data in the NIWA site are presented in data tables. You can copy these existing data tables into Excel from this page. You will then need to graph these data.

The data in the Australian Bureau of Meteorology site are presented in graph form. You will need to read the temperatures off the graphs to create your data tables. Remember to read the average maximum temperature data! When you have created your data tables you will then need to graph these data also.

You may notice that the temperatures given in the Australian site are rounded to the nearest whole number, while the temperatures given in the New Zealand site are not. You may choose to round the temperatures for New Zealand locations if you wish to do so. Remember 0.1-0.4 are rounded down, while 0.5-0.9 are rounded up to the nearest whole number. If you choose to round the temperatures for the New Zealand locations you must acknowledge this somewhere in your report.


Along side each graph you must include a statement, (1-2 paragraphs), explaining your location decisions. You must clearly identify why you have chosen a particular time during the year to live in your location and why you have chosen your location.

Some possible vocabulary to use in your statements:
mean or average
drop or decline
rise or increase
above or below

You may choose to include additional reasons why you have chosen a particular location. You can use other websites or reference material to help you to do this. If you choose to do this you must acknowledge the sources you use somewhere in your report.

You may even decide to include maps or photographs of your location. Once again, you must acknowledge the sources you use in your report.

Your presentation

You must present your work in the form of a written report that includes the following:

  • a brief introduction
  • a data table and a bar graph for each location you have chosen
  • a statement explaining location choice for each place
  • a concluding statement
  • an acknowledgement of all sources you have used in your investigation.

You may choose to include:

  • a table summarising your location choices
  • maps
  • photographs
  • additional reasons for location choices, (you may use other websites or reference material for this).

Although your work must be presented in the form of a written report, it does not have to be presented as a booklet. You may choose how you present your report. Have you considered the following?

  • A pamphlet.
  • A poster.
  • A slideshow.
  • A 3-D model.

What is an Introduction?

When you are presenting your work be mindful that your audience does not know the process you have been through to create your product, i.e. your written report. It is important to explain to them the purpose of your investigation and how you went about it. This is where an introduction comes in handy. Remember that an introduction should be brief, but clearly set the scene for your audience.

You may also choose to include a table showing your locations and their monthly temperatures as part of your introduction.

What is a Conclusion?

A conclusion should briefly draw together the results of your investigation. Your audience should clearly be able to understand the location choices you have made. You may choose to include a personal comment about aspects of the investigation you found challenging or enjoyable. It is sometimes tempting to repeat yourself when writing a conclusion – remember to keep your conclusion brief.

Resource prepared by Lesley Mackintosh and Kelly Cooper
RSNZ Teacher Fellows 2001, NIWA