Linear modelling of the life expectancy
of Canadians


In this lesson, students will gain a better understanding of the parameters of the slope-intercept form (y = mx + b) of a linear equation. They will extract data from E-STAT on the life expectancy of Canadians, both overall and separately for males and females, and import them into spreadsheet software or dynamic statistical software. Within the software, students will approximate a line of best fit and then will compare their approximation to the software-generated line of best fit. By comparing the equations of the line of best fit for males and females, students will estimate, using graphical techniques, the point of intersection. Students will also practise converting linear equations to standard form (Ax + By + C = 0) and performing slope calculations.

Contributors: Jennifer Hall and Joel Yan, Statistics Canada


Suggested grade levels and subject areas



Prior knowledge

Classroom instructions

  1. Discuss important properties of the slope-intercept form of the linear equation as a review.
  2. Using the computer projector, demonstrate to the students the important features of E-STAT.
  3. Hold a brief class discussion on the topic of life expectancy to assess students' prior knowledge and share information on the topic. Discuss what factors would lead to an increase or decrease in life expectancy.
  4. Have students complete (independently or in pairs) Worksheet 1: Overall life expectancy: Student version (also available in .PDF printer-friendly format) and Worksheet 2: Life expectancy by sex: Student version (also available in .PDF printer-friendly format), using the E-STAT instructions and statistical software instructions provided.



Students can be informally assessed on their work habits and computer skills throughout this activity. They can be formally assessed via the worksheets, which can be handed in to be marked using a marking scheme of the teacher's choice.