SPIDAS case study – Primary school (Year 6)

As a part of our pilot study, Year 6 (10-11 year old) students investigated if the weather (such as Hourly Temperature, Hourly Mean Wind Direction, Hourly Relative Humidity, Hourly Global Radiation etc.) might be related to students’ attendances, health and injuries in schools. Key skills are interpretation of graphical data, interpretation of averages and drawing conclusions from data.

Data sets were provided by the Met office as well as the school. The students have studied basic statistical concepts, such as appropriate graphical representation involving discrete, continuous and grouped data; and appropriate measures of central tendency (mean, mode, median) based on the UK national curriculum. Leant from the first pilot study, the following aspects were particularly considered in this pilot:

  • Exploratory talk around graphical data is key
  • Pupils need to be extended by dealing with bigger data set s
  • Digital tools must be carefully selected (Excel was quite time consuming)

The students were confident to use ICT tools but they have not used CODAP before, so there was a quick introduction how to use the tool. Although they have not learnt best fit lines etc., the students seemed no difficulties to read scatter graphs and best fit lines to intuitively make their inferences. Their findings are, for example:

  • Most weather variables bear very weak correlations to attendance.
  • UV radiation seems to correlate with higher attendance. Possible link to Seasonal Affective Disorder.
  • Weather data around windspeed correlates closely to the number of slips, trips and falls in the playground.
  • Absence, regardless of weather, increases across a week.

At the end of their project, the students collectively produced a video in which they summarised their findings.

A post attitude survey suggests that the students have more positive attitudes towards learning statistical concepts, and less stressed during the learning, but their confidence using ICT tools were slightly decreased. This is interesting as ICT tools are heavily embedded in their daily lessons, and they are in general very confident to use ICT tools, but perhaps the new tool (CODAP) made them realise not all tools are easy to use, which is not a bad thing to realise!

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