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If you think it would be useful for us to run these events again, or to run this kind of training as professional development for teachers, please let your local Area Coordinator know.

Abigail Bown, AC for Blackburn with Darwen, Bolton, Bury, Oldham, Rochdale, and Tameside

Statistics really should be the most relevant and potentially engaging area of A Level Mathematics; a topic essential to so many careers. However, time and time again, teachers are telling us that this is an area that students find boring and don’t really understand.

It became a challenge to us in the North West to engage students with statistics. By using real examples and distributions, we also tried to promote understanding of ideas such as hypothesis testing. For the first time, we trialled two new events for students; an Introduction to Statistics session for Year 12 students, and a Statistics Booster for Year 13s. In both cases, the aim was to reinforce statistical ideas through modelling the real situations in which statistics are found. Most importantly, we wanted to make the activities interactive and encourage discussion about statistical ideas.

We looked at ideas such as ‘Are you psychic?’, ‘True Art or Fake?’ and ‘Mazes’, and looked at newspaper articles and internet headlines while discussing what it means for statistics to be convincing. We also used the Large Data Set to look for evidence of global warming. As a confirmed non-statistician, I really enjoyed the days and planning them reinforced my understanding of statistics! More importantly, feedback was good even from the unconvinced:

  • “Really useful, my understanding of stats has really been improved” 
  • “The presenter did a good job and made something boring seem more interesting”
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