Why teach Statistics?
- A great deal of information is disseminated using statistical tools. The ability to read graphs and charts is vital in understanding the world we live in through its representation in newspapers, television, books and elsewhere. The ability to understand and evaluate arguments presented in a statistical manner on a range of issues is important to our individual and collective well being. The ability to undertake investigations, prepare reports and present cases are an essential part of many occupations. Reading and critically evaluating reports is also an important skill both for personal and business use.
- An understanding of the notion and application of probability is essential in businesses such as insurance as well as in medical areas such as epidemiology. On the personal level such knowledge enables us to understand the risks we take at the casino, the TAB, the stock market or with a medical operation.
- Statistical investigations provide links between other areas of the mathematical strands and applications of them. At the primary level, it relies heavily on number, pattern and graphing as well as on precise, logical thinking and communication. Above the primary level, algebra becomes increasingly important.
- Probability draws together various aspects of number, such as fractions, decimals and percentages. It also involves systematic counting to enable particular probabilities to be determined.
- Statistical investigations in their various forms, allow mathematics to interact with other subject areas. This is especially the case in Social Studies where statistics is an important tool to produce and represent data.
Using technology in statistics
- A Spreadsheet tutorial is available if you are unfamiliar with computer spreadsheets. Students may use Excel, OpenOffice, Google Docs, or other similar spreadsheet software.
- The CensusAtSchool website includes a large collection of resources for teaching statistics, as well as real student data sets.
- Graphical calculators can be used to carry out many calculations and analyses. Calculator manufacturers provide user manuals, such as this one for Casio calculators.