The site at www.election. co.uk offers all the data that maths teachers could desire on UK elections. Even the households' lifestyles in each constituency can be compared to voting patterns. While there, allow your pupils to enjoy 3D graphs. Conventional maps show how areas voted but offer no indication of the size of constituency in population terms. These 3D maps show the true concentrations of votes in the UK - each constituency is coloured according to the winning side, but the third dimension (a bar representing votes cast in each constituency) allows you to see the electoral turn-out. Trends over time can be displayed graphically showing interesting results, such as the numbers of seats held by each party since 1900 from data found at www.statistics.gov.uksatbase or the number of women MPs with information from www.parliament.ukcommonslibfact.htm. Tally the variety of election data at these sites using stem and leaf diagrams and picture the spread of voting patterns using box-and-whisker plots.
How about constructing bar and pie charts to show how Parliament would look following an individual pupil's predictions? Visit Peter Snow's "Swingometer" for interactive use of this tool giving the results that would follow from each prediction made. To see a demon-stration visit www.bbc. co.uk election97interactiveswing.htm. ICT and spreadsheet possibilities abound and allow quick construction of a variety of charts.
By the Mathematics Department at Queenswood School, Brookmans Park, Hertfordshire