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.
- But statistical investigations in its various forms, allows 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.
For more information on the progression of mathematical learning in the Statistics strand you may want to try the Data Display Curriculm Exemplar or the Probability Curriculum Exemplar. Note that while the progressions shown in the exemplars are still valid, their links to curriculum levels and AOs relate to MiNZC (1992) rather than to NZC (2007).
A Spreadsheet tutorial is available if you are unfamiliar with computer spreadsheets.