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During Maths Week England, the AMSP created resources and ran a data visualisation competition for students in Years 5 to 13. The activities encouraged them to consider the climate impact of buying an annual Christmas jumper.

We were delighted to receive hundreds of entries and excellent feedback from teachers:

“Thank you for this wonderful competition. The students here have really enjoyed it and it has been really eye-opening.”

We were also delighted that Clarissa Grandi, creator of mathematical art lessons, agreed to be on the judging panel.

The entries were of such a high standard that it was incredibly difficult to select five finalists. Entrants clearly demonstrated that they understood the concept of data visualisation and were able to apply it to the Christmas Jumpers (and related) climate issues. Well done all!”

The finalists were sent to Mona Chalabi, Data Editor at the Guardian US, who picked the winner.

“Creating artwork that informs people about something is hard to do. If you only focus on the pretty, very often it’s confusing. If you only focus on the informing part, very often it’s ugly. I think the winner did a good job of walking that line. I think this entry was evocative and didn’t require the person looking at it to do too many of their own calculations to make sense of it. I liked that it just chose to convey one statistic and it’s also great colouring in!”

The Winner

Khadijah Mulla, Madrasatul Imam Muhammed Zakariya School, Bolton (Year 10), “Myself and my class found the interactive activities very eye-opening as through them we realised the huge effect making new jumpers has on the environment. I chose to represent my poster with a running tap because people would be shocked to find out that during the production of new jumpers a massive amount of water (a tap left running for 116 days) is wasted.”

Our judges thought this was a very well-designed image, notable for its simplicity and clarity, which communicates a stark message about the amount of water used in Christmas jumper production.

Other finalists

Pula Laughton, The Abbey School, Reading (Year 9), “We calculated the amount of water produced by Christmas jumpers over the last few years has been just over 365 MILLION litres of water so far! It was lots of fun to make this visualisation and it was so interesting to see the data in this way.”

A simple, visually striking image which clearly communicates one of the environmental impacts of Christmas jumper production: water usage.

Poppy Statham, The Maynard School (Year 7), “I found the task of presenting data on climate change fascinating and at the same time scary. I scaled the pile of jumpers to the Burj Khalifa by dividing the height of the pile by the height of the building (828m).”

A clever image that demonstrates clearly the vastness of the Christmas jumper problem by comparing the height of all jumpers produced with the world’s tallest building. The astronaut is a clever addition to bring attention to the scale of the problem.

Jo Stylo, The Abbey School, Reading (Year 10), “We calculated the number of new Christmas jumpers bought in the UK which was about 17 million. We then assumed that each jumper had a height of one centimetre and calculated what the height of all the Christmas jumpers would be (17000000 cm) . When I got home I sifted through a range of ideas until I decided on the tower of jumpers compared to giraffes, female blue whales and brachiosaurs. I had to find the average height for each animal and divide the height of the tower by the height of the animal. Then I rounded it to the nearest whole number because you can’t have half a dinosaur.”

A visually striking and quirky image that uses the world’s instantly recognisable largest animals to communicate the scale of the Christmas jumper problem.

Gracie French, Woldingham School (Year 8), “I decided to choose the topic of plastic for my project because it has such a huge impact on the environment. Plastic contributes to greenhouse gases and every stage of its life cycle, from its production to its disposal. My poster focuses specifically on the impact of the disposal of plastic on marine life and our oceans.”

A very clever image showing a whale literally filled with plastic – a very strong, clear message about the impact of plastic use on our environment and those we share it with.

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