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CensusAtSchool Australia

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Back to CensusAtSchool home page CasGeo33 - Hot School Spot

You can download this activity as a rich text file (RTF) using the links at the bottom of the page

1. Subject Area

Studies of Society and Environment / Human Society and its Environment - Geography

2. Suggested Level

Years 9 -10

3. Key Statistical Literacy Competencies Addressed

  • Data awareness
  • The ability to understand statistical concepts
  • The ability to analyse, interpret and evaluate statistical information
  • Communicating statistical information and understandings

4. Overview

In this activity you are asked to deliver a presentation which promotes your selected student community as the best community for a new reality TV show called 'Hot School Spot'. CensusAtSchool provides a small window into the lives and habits of Australian school children. The CensusAtSchool questionnaire has some questions that will be a useful source of information for your investigation.

5. Requirements

  • Computer with internet connection
  • Spreadsheet software
  • Calculator
  • Pens and paper
  • Student Worksheet

6. Instructions

A national television network is seeking an Australian student community to feature in a new reality TV show called 'Hot School Spot', which will highlight the uniqueness of the selected student community. Your school has decided to nominate a student community.

Your teacher wants some ideas on a suitable student community to be the focus of your tender. They have asked you to use the Australian Bureau of Statistics CensusAtSchool data to undertake a fact finding mission about specific Australian student communities.

Three types of school student communities have been suggested by the television station’s executive group for the 'Hot School Spot' tender:
  • agricultural or mining
  • tourist or administrative
  • Indigenous

You are asked to conduct research into one of three suggested areas (see table below) which correspond to the three types of student communities suggested by the executive group. To do this you can use a range of resources, including a sample from the CensusAtSchool database.

Type of communityAgricultural and MiningTouristIndigenous
Suggested AreaHunter Valley, NSWSunshine Coast, QldFar West NSW
Post code2300 - 23374551 - 46552711 - 2880

6.1 Background research

Working in groups of three or four students, choose one specific community from the table above.
6.1.1 Locate the community on a map and clearly indicate the community's boundaries. Label the major towns and landmarks. Use a key to indicate the land use of the community.
6.1.2 Calculate the total area occupied by the community and use this together with the estimated population to calculate the population density of the community.
6.1.3 Find a suitable definition for the term 'community'. Explain how your chosen community complies with this definition. Why is your chosen community considered to be one of the types of communities suggested by the executive group?
6.1.4 Go to the CensusAtSchool website and obtain a sample from your chosen community (specify postcode) using the Random Sampler. Research the students in your chosen community. Make a list of the basic data that characterises the student community and how you could represent that data. For example the age distribution of students could be represented by a population pyramid. Include at least 8 characteristics. You will need to use a range of methods, such as tables, averages and graphs, to represent the data.
( Hint: It will be easier to count the number of students in each category if you sort the data first. If you are good at Excel it will be even easier if you use the COUNTIF function to do the counting for you)
6.1.5 Use the 2006 Basic Community Profile and the National Regional Profile to find out further information about your community, such as; student population, change in total population over the last five years, main ancestry (ethnicity) and the prevalence of indigenous people in your chosen community.

6.2 Presentation

6.2.1 Prepare and deliver a five minute presentation which describes what you have learnt about your chosen community and why your community is the most suitable for 'Hot School Spot'.

6.2.2 To help you understand the differences between your chosen community and the other two communities, please complete the following table during the presentations. Make a copy of the table below and record the main points raised during the other presentations.

Type of community
Agricultural and Mining
What are the main land uses in this community?
What is the population density of this community?
What aspects of this community do you think will appeal to Australian students watching 'Hot School Spot' ?
What else would you like to know about this community if you were part of the executive group?
If you were promoting this community what would be your three main points?

6.2.3 After all the presentations have been given to the class, discuss the questions as a group or as a class.

7. Extension

7.1 You could investigate your own student community or another type of community which is of interest to them. Be aware that it will be difficult to get a sample for some communities.
7.2 You could compare ethnicity over time by looking at the 2006 and 2001 Basic Community Profile for your selected community.
7.3 Imagine you are part of the 'Hot School Spot' executive group. From the presentation that were given by your class mates write a one page report which briefly describes the three communities who nominated for 'Hot School Spot' and explains which community has been chosen and why?

8. Marking Criteria

A student demonstrates
  • Comprehensively engages the CensusAtSchool database
  • High-level effective use and display of geographic skills
  • Uses graphs and statistics accurately to illustrate findings
  • Provides a thoughtful and well considered explanation for differences between the communities
9 - 10
  • Effective use of the CensusAtSchool database
  • Effective use and display of geographic skills
  • Provides some graphs and statistics to support writing
  • Provides an explanation for differences between communities
7 - 8
  • Makes limited use of the CensusAtSchool database
  • Limited display of geographic skills
  • Provides some examples of relevant graphs and statistics
  • Provides an explanation for some differences between communities
5 - 6
  • Obtains only a small amount of data from the CensusAtSchool database
  • Elementary use of geographic skills
  • Provides some graphs and statistics of limited relevance
  • Provides limited explanation for some differences between communities
3 - 4
  • Makes reference only to the CensusAtSchool database
  • Minimal use of geographic skills
  • Provides few graphs and statistics of minimal relevance
  • Provides minimal explanation for some differences between communities
1 - 2

9. For the Teacher

9.1 Preparation

9.1.1 A copy of the relevant National Regional Profiles can be found on the ABS website ( Follow the 'National Regional Profile' link under 'Regional Statistics' on the left side of the Welcome Page. For:
  • Hunter Valley view by main areas and then select NSW
  • Sunshine Coast view by main areas and then select Qld
  • Far West NSW by main areas and then select NSW

9.1.2 For a copy of the relevant 2006 Community Profiles, select the 'Census' link at the top of the Welcome Page. Select the 'Community Profiles' link and enter the name of the area you wish to investigate. The Map tab can be a useful way of locating your area of interest.

9.2 Delivery

9.2.1 Ensure that there is at least one group studying each of the suggested communities.

9.2.2 If students have difficulty using the CensusAtSchool data to obtain information about their chosen community, you might like to suggest some of the following activities to get them started:
  • calculate the percentage of males and females in the sample (Q1)
  • construct a population pyramid of the school student community (Q2)
  • construct a bar graph of birth place (Q3)
  • calculate the median number of people living in a home (Q18)
  • calculate the percentage of households that have a pet and identify the most popular pet (Q20)
  • identify the two most common languages spoken at home (Q7)
  • construct a bar graph of eye colour (Q11)
  • calculate the average height (Q13)
  • calculate the percentage of students attending co-ed schools (Q22).

Download the Activity


Data in a spreadsheet

Data in a table
(RTF document 113 KB)

(Excel document 506 KB)

This activity involves a broad ranging investigation so, a simple table of data is not appropriate.

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