Stat of the art

9th January 2004 at 00:00

Real Data - Statistics Projects for Key Stage 3

Smile Mathematics pound;50+VAT

Tel: 020 75984841

Key Maths for GCSE Statistics Edexcel

Key Maths for GCSE Statistics AQA

Nelson Thornes pound;13.50 each

Tel: 01242 267100

Statistics GCSE for AQA

Oxford University Press pound;13.99

Tel: 01536 741 171

Making Sense of Statistics - A Non-mathematical Approach,

Palgrave-Macmillan pound;11.99

Tel: 01256 302 692

Mathematics in School

Mathematical Association pound;55 annual subscription

Tel: 0116 221 0013

Autograph 2.10

CD-Rom, single user licences cost pound;50, 50-user licences pound;250 and site licences pound;400 (plus VAT) Tel: 01832 273444


Fifty Fathoms - Statistics Demonstrations for Deeper Understanding, pound;37.50

Workshop Statistics: Discovery with data and Fathom, pound;31

Fathom software single user licences cost pound;80, 50 user licences

pound;329 and site licences pound;449 (plus VAT), the latter two including home use by teachers

FX Stat, single user licences pound;25, site licences pound;75 and distribution licences pound;150 (plus VAT)

All published by Key Curriculum Press. Available in the UK from bookshops or from Chartwell-Yorke

Tel: 01204 811 001 and QED Books Tel: 01494 772 973

Since the introduction of the handling data coursework into GCSE maths, much work has been done to help pupils achieve their potential. With a lack of adequate guidance it is not surprising that there are stories doing the rounds about how the examination boards have compensated. No doubt all the worry has been a prime mover in the appearance of useful materials.

Schools have been disappointed by the quality of written work in key stage 4, and one way to improve this is to set meaningful handling data tasks in KS3. Real Data - Statistics Projects for Key Stage 3 produced by Smile Mathematics is useful in this respect. This contains six projects with photocopiable resources and a CD-Rom with real data relevant to the interesting work in the book.

The projects are: average student, environment, fast hand, sport, transport and world statistics. There are six levelled hypotheses in each project providing differentiation from levels 3 to 7.

Nelson Thornes has two new books out - Key Maths for GCSE Statistics Edexcel and Key Maths for GCSE Statistics AQA. They say they provide full coverage of the respective GCSE statistics courses and are differentiated for the foundation and higher tiers of each. These are nicely presented books with good use of colour and additional ICT support. Not my cup of tea however - I felt the coverage of histograms and frequency density could have been better.

Oxford University Press publishes Statistics GCSE for AQA. This is the book I use in school since my pupils take great delight in finding the sort of errors the proof readers should have spotted. Good coverage and plenty of exercise material.

Michael Wood's Making Sense of Statistics - A Non-mathematical Approach, published by Palgrave-Macmillan, claims to provide a thorough and accessible introduction to statistics and probability without the distraction of mathematics.

There is also a website www.palgrave.comstudyguideswoodfiles.htm with data files and interactive Excel spreadsheets to download. Initially I was dubious about the claim of "no mathematics" yet it appears that it is so - provided you use appropriate statistical packages for your calculations.

Worth the money.

Another useful resource is the November 2003 edition of Mathematics in School, published by the Mathematical Association. This is a statistics special, containing much material about what is being done in the classroom together with other ideas that will develop pupils' ability to meet the coursework criteria.

I have always enjoyed working with the software program Autograph, and version 2.10 is no exception. It is possible to run this in its junior mode for use in KS3, to avoid any distractions of the advanced features. The data handling section was most enjoyable. The CD-Rom comes with a booklet of 45 introductory exercises which are just right for becoming familiar with the software.

The manual is very informative. Further worksheets, resources and upgrades are available on the website, the latter two options including home use by teachers. Online help is also available.

Fathom, published by Key Curriculum Press (who also do Geometer's Sketch Pad), is a fantastic all-singing, all-dancing statistical package that I'll be using regularly to help teach GCSE statistics. It is also ideal software for AS and A2. There are fully comprehensive books available separately.

Fifty Fathoms - Statistics Demonstrations for Deeper Understanding comes with a CD-Rom containing 50 demos for whole-class use. Workshop Statistics: Discovery with data and Fathom contains plenty of activities to guide students to discover and explore statistics but really needs anglicising - real data about you or your own country is more exciting than its US counterpart.

For a more budget conscious department, FX Stat is a student statistics package that is equally useful for teachers. The big advantage to this package is the distribution licence - the fee allows you to give it to anyone directly associated with your school, so all your pupils can have a copy.

Peter Ransom is a leading mathematics teacher at Mountbatten School, Romsey, Hampshire

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