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A topic that frequently arises in examiners’ reports reflects on students’ ability to make valid comparisons between data sets.

This year, we have offered a one-day, face-to-face, Dynamic Visualisation of Data professional development course, with three sessions each lasting about 90 mins. In each session, we investigated how data can be visualised in the classroom and how changes to the data affect these visualisations. During the day we investigated how, through these changes, we can help to develop students’ understanding and appreciation of summary statistics, their ability to make comparisons between different data sets, and their ability to efficiently analyse data and make inferences.

Each session focused on a different element of data visualisation. The first session concentrated on the dynamic visualisation of data, and we used Excel and the Desmos graphing calculator to manipulate and explore data visualisation. The second session focused on efficiently generating different samples to help develop students’ understanding and appreciation of how samples can affect summary statistics and the inferences that are made. The third session focused on hypothesis testing, and how samples effect the outcomes of a hypothesis test and how inferences vary depending on the sample.

This course was originally online but we wanted to deliver it face-to-face and feel it was a successful day, having lots of great discussions which are not so easy online. We are planning to host the sessions again in the Spring term online with three separate sessions over three different dates and we may host another one-day face-to-face session in the summer term. Parts one and two are suitable for anyone who teaches some statistics. Keep an eye out on our events page for when bookings open – we would love for you to join us! Of course, anyone who is on our subscribed list will get advance notice.

Teachers who attended the course this year made the following comments about their favourite parts of the session:

  • “Understanding uses of the common technologies and the depths that they can go to. Many uses across many year groups, not just A Level”
  • “Providing a working knowledge of visualising data on Desmos! Also, valuable discussion around topics that are often difficult to teach to students”

If you’d like to get a flavour of what can be created, look at this short Desmos activity.

By Yvonne Scott

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