Where does the time go?

Downloadable versions of this activity are available in the following formats:

(RTF formatPDF format)


Note: This activity uses a random sample of Canadian results from the 2006/2007 Census at School survey. The question on time use was not included in more recent questionnaires, so you cannot use your class data for this activity.

At the end of the day, we often wonder where the time went. Time flies by quickly… especially when we’re on vacation!

Examine the data on time use for various activities that were collected in the Census at School survey of 2006/2007 (question #17 of the Grade 9 to 12 questionnaire.)

Using Canadian results of the survey, retrieve a large random sample of responses. First, go to www.censusatschool.ca and select Data and results from the left sidebar. Under the heading International results and random data selector, click on random data selector. At the bottom of the next screen, click on Choose data, select Canadaand then Phase Four Secondary (06/07).

Work in teams to:

  1. Determine the activity on which Canadian students spend the most time in a week. How can you justify your answer and defend it to your ‘fellow statisticians’?
  2. Determine which activity is the most popular, that is, the one the most students participate in. Is this the same activity as the one on which Canadian students spend the most time in a week, identified in question 1?
  3. Determine the activity on which Canadian students spend the least amount of time in a week. How did you arrive at this answer? Can you justify it and convince your team-mates?
  4. Determine which activity is the least popular. Is this also the one on which Canadian students spend the least amount of time in a week?

Compare your conclusions with those of the other teams in your class. If you don’t agree with their findings, explain why. Try to arrive at some common conclusions.

Is there still time to watch TV?

With everything else that takes up time during the week, how much is left to watch television? How would you go about evaluating how much time Canadian students spend, on average, in front of the television? What steps would you take to do this? Why?

Using your approach, on average, how much time a week would you say Canadian students spend watching TV? What percentage of total leisure time does this represent? Can you be sure? Explain your reasoning. Then, compare your analysis with that of the other teams.

How do working students spend their time?

People often say that students with jobs are so busy that they don’t have the time to study or to help out around the house. Are these statements really justified?

Analyse the activities of the group of students who work seven hours or more a week by answering the following questions:

  1. What percentage of the Canadian total does this group of students represent?
  2. If you compare their use of time with that of the rest of the Canadian students, what activities have they apparently given up?
  3. What proportion of students who work seven hours or more plan on continuing their education? Is this the same percentage as for those who work less than seven hours?
  4. Do you notice a difference in the answers to questions 2 and 3 depending on the kind of work involved (paid or volunteer)?
  5. Summarize your findings on the effects of working on students.

Whiz quiz: Can you answer these questions?

In a given week:

  • How many hours did at least 50% of students spend with their friends? (-----) hours or more.
  • How many hours did fewer than 25% of students spend reading? At least (-----) hours.
  • How many hours did more than 75% of students spend doing their homework? Fewer than(-----) hours.
  • What proportion of the students spent more than three hours on housework? (-----)%.

Contributed by France Caron, Université de Montréal, and Linda Gattuso, Université du Québec à Montréal

This entry was posted in Grade 9 to 12, Learning Activities and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.