Introducing Statistics in Primary Schools

Statistics key stage 2

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Statistics can be the basis of really great practical lessons in maths where students can get their hands dirty. It’s arguably the easiest way to show an example of maths being useful in real life.

Almost all statistic lessons need to include (1) data collection, (2) data display and (3) data analysis. However, lessons do not need to run in this order. Sometimes teaching about statistics prior to data collection may be beneficial.

Data that can be collected:
– heights of children in the class (helps with measurement topics)
– the number of books on a shelf in a level or that are “green”

– the number of posters on a wall
– birthdays of children in the class or in their family
– how many sweets could you eat in an hour?
– eye colours of students
– length of name
– how fast can they run 100m (helps with measurement)
– number of siblings
– football results

Data can be displayed in:
– pie charts
– bar charts
– tally charts
– line graphs
– pictograms

Data analysis may include:
– finding the average (mean, median or mode)
– discussing if there are any outliers
– discussing the shape of the data in any chart (is it symmetric?)
– converting the data into percentages

The best thing about statistics at primary is that it is a real practical area of maths that pupils can grasp.

The most able students will start to realise that statistics is about describing a large amount of data simply either pictorially e.g. in a chart or numerically e.g. average. As the data is simplified more information is lost but the data as a whole becomes easier to understand and analyse.

One of the biggest issues with this area though is the time consuming aspect of collecting the data and displaying the data when you just want to see if your pupils understand the data. A quick way to assess their understanding is by using Statistics with Emile – grab a free trial and see what Emile can bring to your classroom.

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