I have mentioned Experiments at School before, an outstanding resource from The CensusAtSchool Project run by the Royal Statistical Society Centre for Statistical Education. I used this successfully with Year 8 (UK age 12-13) last year; this year I want to do some work with Year 10 (age 14-15. which means of course we will be able to compare Year 8 and Year 10 data!).
Choose any of the online experiments which are items 14 to 21. Selecting any experiment takes you to an introduction giving full details of the experiment as well as teachers’ notes and pupil worksheets. UK schools can get their LEA and school codes and actually try the experiments which will generate data for the school, however anyone can use the Database Interrogation Tool and choose a random sample of data from the database.
The best way to become familiar with the tool is to launch the tool, select the logo as in the image above then the follow these very clear instructions from task 1 on page 2. This will take you step by step through how to use the tool including selecting a random sample of your choice from the database. (Note the the info buttons as shown on the right of the above image do not currently seem to work, however you can get full details and all the resources for each experiment as described above on the Experiments at School page).
My Year 10 students successfully tried all the experiments (with the exception of 16: Candle Combustion, I thought candles in the IT room might not be a very bright idea!). As they were doing the experiments there were some great conversations going on which will lead into interrogating the data very well. For example all the students tried the angle estimation and I heard discussions for example on the type of angles which are easier to estimate and that the flat diagrams are easier to work with. Note that even if your students cannot access the online experiment they could use the worksheet provided as an introduction to the activity or an online angle estimation activity such as this from Nrich.
This site is very comprehensive in that there are many suggestions for activities. For example we can use our own data and data from the database to answer questions such as those suggested in the teacher notes. Interestingly many of these questions came up in discussions between the students: ‘Do you improve with practise?’ ‘Is it easier to estimate smaller angles?’ ‘Is it easier to estimate the angle from a flat or a 3D diagram?’
There was much amusement and discussion generated by the All About Me activity. This worksheet fully explains the genetic traits used in the data and I suspect they will enjoy seeing if they can find out if they have a double somewhere in the world!
This will also be an opportunity for students to use Excel as I will provide them with a spreadsheet of the class data with data filters added so it is easy to sort by any column. They could also create charts, scatter diagrams for example, using Excel.
All resources mentioned here are from TheCensusAtSchool Project run by the Royal Statistical Society Centre for Statistical Education. See this page for information on Copyright and Permissions.