Amount Of $ Spent on Lunch in CHS

By: Sonakshi Chaturvedi and Tan Yan; p. 5

Background Information

Question: Does the gender of a person affect how much money they will spend on food on any given day?

Hypothesis: Males in Coppell High School will spend more money on lunch than females.

Type of Investigation: Comparative

Parts of the Experiment:

  1. Dependent variable: Amount of money spent on lunch.

  2. Independent variable: Gender

  3. Control: None

  4. Experimental groups: Male students and female students

  5. Two factors held constant: Time at which the subjects have lunch (C lunch), Available food prices (CHS lunch menu prices)

Data Table

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Bar Graph

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Range of Average $ Spent on lunch in CHS

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Based on evidence from the data table and bar graphs, it is concluded that gender does not affect how much money one will spend on lunch, and that male students did not spend more money on lunch than female students, meaning the original hypothesis was incorrect. The T-test shows that the p-value of the hypothesis is 0.056989931, meaning that it only has a 5.7% chance of being true, a much too small probability to be able to justify its validity. Both of the bar graphs depict that the average amount of money spent on lunch by males, $3.23, was less than that of females, $4.06. In addition, the error bars for both the plus or minus two standard error of the mean, $2.60 to $3.86 for males and $3.26 to $4.87 for females, and the range of data, $1.25 to $5.00 for males and $1.75 to $6.15 for females, showed quite a bit of an overlap, suggesting that there may not have been a significant difference in the true mean or range of the two groups, and the independent variable, gender, didn't have a statistically significant enough effect on the result. However, this conclusion does not come into congruence with the prevalent scientific theory today that the average male will consume more calories than the average female (Harvard Medical School; Rolls), regardless of age and/or stage of puberty (Shomaker). This discrepancy may be explained by the fact that females, starting from early adolescence, are more inclined to commit to self-dieting (Lattimore), make healthier food choices, and in greater frequency (Bere; Shelley) than males due to the social and cultural perceptions of body fitness (Rolls). This, combined with the generally higher prices of healthier foods compared to that of less healthy foods, may serve as a plausible explanation as to why male students did not spend more money on lunch than female students.


On average, male students did not spend more money on lunch than female students, and gender does not appear to have a statistically significant effect on amount of money spent on lunch, therefore disproving the original hypothesis.

Sources of Error and Inaccuracies

A plausible source of error in this comparative investigation could have been that the students surveyed may not have remembered the exact amount of money they spent on a given day, and had instead given a rough estimate, leading to deviation from the real data. Another source of inaccuracy was that there was not a wide range of subjects to test it upon, as there are only a limited amount of students in C lunch, thus limiting the sample size. Last but not least, there are a variety of variables that were not sufficiently controlled in the experiment, such as age, level of stress, amount of physical activity, time preference of eating (eating more in the morning than in the afternoon, or vice versa), etc., that could have possibly affected the precision and accuracy of the data collected, especially that of the female group, as food intake is more directly correlated with stress and other factors in females (Weinstein). All of this contributes to how muc food kids are able to spend on their lunch should they buy it from the cafetiera at CHS.


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