Education Technology

Award Winning Data

Activity Overview

Arguably the most famous awards in the world, but are the Academy Awards® ageist and sexist? The mean age of female winners is 36 compared with males at 44, but Jessica Tandy (Driving Miss Daisy) won an award at age 81, the oldest award recipient. Katherine Hepburn won an award at age 74. What can the rest of the data tell us about the distribution of ages for both males and females. Students explore different representations of the data and interpret these to answer the big question, are the awards ageist and sexist?


  • ACMSP249– Construct and interpret box plots and use them to compare data sets
  • ACMSP248– Determine quartiles and interquartile range
  • ACMSP252 – Investigate and describe bivariate numerical data where the independent variable is time (Extension Question)


  • Mean
  • Median
  • Quartile
  • Range
  • Interquartile range
  • Histogram
  • Boxplot

About the Lesson

Students are provided with data from the Academy Awards that includes the year, actor and actress and their age when they received the award. Students compare a variety of statistical measures, and representations including dot plots, histograms and boxplots. It is however the boxplot that really highlights the age difference between male and female award recipients.  Students are then required to write an news article with supporting data about whether the awards have a gender or age bias.