Visualising inequality (by hand) competition winners

Thursday 16th December 2021

To celebrate Maths Week EnglandOpens a new window 2021, the AMSP collaborated with The Equality TrustOpens a new window to create some exciting new resources using economic inequality data and graphs. In the activities, students consider how hand-drawn data visualisations can be used to tell a story with data and, during Maths Week England 2021, they were invited to enter our data visualisation competition.

We were delighted to receive lots of entries and excellent feedback from teachers, such as, "Thank you so much for providing these resources; we really enjoyed exploring this topic and I heard many pupils say this was their favourite ever maths lesson!"

Our competition judging panel included The Equality Trust, The Royal Geographical SocietyOpens a new window, visual story-teller Catherine MaddenOpens a new window, and geometric puzzle legend Catriona AggOpens a new window. They were blown away by the talent and creativity shown by students and had a very hard time making their decisions!

“Really interesting, inventive and engaging. These were SO FUN to review. I'm really impressed!”

Our judges each submitted their top three in each age category and we used a points-based voting system to select the winner and runners up. We have resources on voting systems if you'd like to use these with your students.

Winner of Year 7/8 category – Tara Brady at Didcot Girls School


I chose to use a cargo ship for my data visualisation to show how income is shared in the UK. Each container on the ship represents one quintile. In the top ship, income is shared equally, and the ship is floating. In the bottom ship, income is shared the way it's shared in real life, and the ship is sinking.

From the judges

All the judges absolutely loved the strength of this message – such a simple idea but they could feel the tension coming off the page!

Runner-up in Years 7/8 – Aasiyah Omarji at Madrasatul Imam Muhammad Zakariya


From the judges

Love the thought put into the people illustrated in each category. The bars aren’t to scale, so 8% looks like half of 40% which is a missed opportunity for a big moment of interest.

Runner-up in Years 7/8 – Ava Woods at Didcot Girls School


"I chose to visualise the data given about income share in a line graph because it shows the increasing wealth gap between the richest and poorest in society. I decided to only show the top and bottom 10% as it makes a more powerful and interesting message. I also used colour to make the graph more exciting and memorable."

From the judges

I like how much editing this student did – removing a lot of the 'noise' in the data to make the clearest point.

Winner of Year 9/10/11 category – Ksenia Morozova and Oyin Obe at Kingswood School


Each person is a representation of a quintile in society, the poorest on the left and the richest on the right. Above the people is a shelf, and each section contains a 'stereotypical' use of disposable income for each quintile. The task of retrieving the object becomes riches the further right the person is. Each person, except the poorest one, has some sort of item that helps them reach the item on top. The richest person is standing on a pile of money and a struggling human figure. This is to symbolize how almost none of the richest people on earth have earned their money in an ethical way, and how money can essentially get you anything in this world. In addition, the poorest person is being held down with a chain, which is controlled by the rich person. This is to symbolize how the rich people often prevent the poorer people from earning enough money, as they want to keep up the drastic economical divide in society, which obviously benefits them.

From the judges

This is a very detailed and thoughtful submission! I noticed even more clever details after reading the write-up.

Runner-up in Years 9/10/11 – Khadija Darvesh at Madrasatul Imam Muhammad Zakariya


From the judges

I love the tension that they created with this top-heavy cake. Also appreciate the less obvious details like the candle patterns and table covered in bills.

Runner-up in Years 9/10/11 – Khalisah Jamala at Madrasatul Imam Muhammad Zakariya


From the judges

I really like this one, but I need a bit more context – a title, labels, annotations, etc.

Winner of Year 12/13 category – Khadijah Mulla at Madrasatul Imam Muhammad Zakariya


From the judges

I’ve never thought of using a metaphor of windows, how clever! I love the contrast between equal and actual, the unbalanced nature of the second house is displeasing, and that’s the whole point!

Runner-up in Year 12/13 – Tosin Ademola at Brampton Manor Academy


From the judges

What a fascinating concept! I can see how much thought and detail was put into this and appreciate the write-up.

Runner-up in Year 12/13 Headington School


From the judges

I love the simplicity of this submission – you immediately understand what it’s about and get the point very quickly.

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