Category Archives: News

News items related to the ICSE, our work and activities.

School Resources

Occasionally a resource will pop-up that may prove useful in a stats lesson. Here are links to two…one old, one new.

The first is from Sir David Spiegelhalter, who is Winton Professor of the Public Understanding of Risk at the University of Cambridge. you can find it on his blog Understanding Uncertainty.

It is an interactive version of the famous Florence Nightingale Coxcombs, the originals being produced by Nightingale sometime after the Crimean War (1853-1856). There are links here to other related resources making this a fantastic cross-curricular activity. The resource itself is in Adobe Flash.

The second is a game stumbled upon on Twitter. Created by Omar Wagih a Bioinformatics PhD student, who you can tweet @omarwagih. The game called guessthecorrelation.com produces a series of scatter plots and asks participants to guess the correlation between two variables.

I am sure you can think of lots of ways the game can be incorporated into a stats lesson. It might also be fun  to combine it with a discussion of correlation more generally. This could include a link to Spurious Correlation (featured here before) that now has a spurious correlation discovery tool.

Big Bang Fair

Last week the Sthe-big-bang-logochool of Computing Electronics and Mathematics at Plymouth University attended the Big Bang Science & Engineering Fair that took place in Birmingham at the NEC between March 16th-19th.

The event was used as an opportunity to promote the CensusAtSchool Winton Infographic Competition (that closes on the 26th of April, check WinAtSchool.org.uk for details) and the CensusAtSchool resources.

The School maths activities included the hidden maths of Celtic knots and WW2 code breaking. For computing the School ran a tennis swing analyser that was part of an undergraduate project that proved popular, collecting over 900 swings.

The twitter feed for the week contains some pictures and video from the event as well as links to other interesting stands at the Big Bang.

Data, Traffic and the need for Statisticians

arrow-44131_1280Although unrelated to statistical education or our activities we thought a recent local news story might be a good ‘piece for the archive’ for the statistical education champions out there.

The story in question regards the closure of a recently created bus lane along a busy stretch of road in to and out of a small city, Truro, located in Cornwall, South West UK.  For the full details  via the local newspaper use the link below.

Apart from the costs involved, that incidentally do not cover the difficult to measure knock-on costs related to delays, the most significant point  is that a measure intended to ease congestion and speed up journey times for road users has had the exact opposite effect.

Truro bus lane will be scrapped on Monday

This is a vast over-simplification to illustrate a point – traffic control is a fairly universal issue, common to civil authorities of any municipality large or small, and this is a nice example of how things can go wrong if data diligence (I just made that up) is not done or not done with great care. What can we learn from this?

1.  There is a general lack of knowledge and skill when it comes to the use of statistics and data handling, even among those in technical careers .

2. Employ a statistician, they could save you £60,000 in the long run.

As a frivolous afterthought…even if data for this particular stretch of road did not exist, it almost certainly did exist and must, one would hope, have informed the planning decision. You can download data for South West roads via the Department of Transport website that would provide an insight helpful for planning – make of it what you will.

Traffic Points – Cornwall traffic profile for 2000 to 2014

 

Don’t Panic – How to End Poverty in 15 Years

Tomorrow night on BBC TWO (UK) Statistician Professor Hans Rosling is back with more amazing visualisations, showing the world how we can end poverty. This is part of the BBC’s This World series, find out more using the link below.

Professor Rosling is an excellent communicator and educator who likes to let data do the talking with some exceptional data visualisations. Watch the programme live on the 23rd September (8:00pm, BBC TWO) or catch it on the iPlayer (UK) afterward.

Many of you will be familiar with the GapMinder project and the previous programme shown on the BBC to feature Professor Rosling entitled The Joy of Stats, this appears to now be available, in full, on YouTube.

#60ISIWSC – 60th World Statistics Congress

topo_bgThe International Statistics Institute World Statistics Congress

For your information, the 60th ISI World Statistics Congress (WSC) will be taking place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, during 26–31 July 2015.

The congress brings together members of the statistical community, from across the globe, to present, discuss, promote and disseminate research and best practice in every field of Statistics and its applications.

You can find out more using the link isi2015.org and can keep up with what is going on using the hashtag #60ISIWSC.

For those with an interest in statistical education there is a satellite conference held by the IASE during the 22-24 July. There is a separate site with a full programme of events available now, it can be found at iase-web.org.

ONS Census 2021 – Have Your Say

On a slightly related note the Office for National Statistics have announced there are now only 6 weeks remaining to haCensus2021ve your say with regards the next national census that will take place in 2021.

You can view a statement on the consultation from John Pullinger, National Statistician, on the ONS website. The link in full is below.

https://consultations.ons.gov.uk/census/2021-census-topics-consultation

WinAtSchool 2015 Winners …

1st Place Marling School

Neil Sheldon and Vicky Neale present the team from Marling School with their prize.

On Wednesday the 1st of July at Venue Reading the final of the Winton Capital Management National School 2015 Final 12 Top TeamsMathematics & Statistics Competition took place.

After three rounds of 14 questions on topics including percentages, probability, algebraic graphs, reasoning, geometry and more the wining team scoring an impressive 119 out of a possible 126, and walking away with a cash prize of £2,500, were Marling School from Gloucestershire.

Second place went to Colyton Grammar School from Devon (£1,000), while third went to Bourne Grammar Winton pens and pads used in the final.School from Lincolnshire (£500). You can read all about the final over at WinAtSchool.org.uk.

The event was hosted by Neil Sheldon, the Royal Statistical Society’s vice president for education and statistical literacy, while the quiz master for this year was Dr Vicky Neale, Whitehead Lecturer at the Mathematical Institute and Balliol College at the University of Oxford.

Well done to all 12 teams that made it to final and thank you to our sponsor, Winton Capital Management, for making it happen.

WinAtSchool Final 2015

Winton LogoThe WinAtSchool 2015 final is almost here. The competition, organised by the ICSE with Plymouth University, and sponsored by Winton Capital Management, is to take place at at the University of Reading, Whiteknight campus on the 1st July 2015.

We would like to congratulate the twelve finalist schools that will be competing in the final. The schools are as follows:

Bourne Grammar School, Lincolnshire
Colyton Grammar School, Devon
Dame Alice Owen’s School, Hertfordshire
Devonport High School for Boys, Devon
Kendrick School, Berkshire
Kesteven and Grantham Girls’ School, Lincolnshire
Malmesbury School, Wiltshire
Marling School, Gloucestershire
Saint Olave’s Grammar School, Kent
Sale Grammar School, Cheshire
The Blue Coat School, Liverpool, Merseyside
Warwick School, Warwickshire

It is shaping up to be an exciting finale with more than one team having been at the final last year including Marling School, the defending champions.

For the uninitiated, the grand final will consist of a team of four pupils from each school competing to win a top prize of £2,500. This year the event will be hosted by Dr Vicky Neale, Whitehead Lecturer at the Mathematical Institute and Balliol College at the University of Oxford, while Neil Sheldon, the Royal Statistical Society’s vice president for education and statistical literacy, will present the prizes.

We would like to thank all the teachers and pupils who took part, as usual the standard has been very high. For more information and the full press release visit #WinAtSchool.

Marling School

 

 

 

 

Pictured: 2014 Winners – Marling School, receiving their prize from Professor David Hand (L) and Neil Sheldon (R).

Data to Insight – Videos

Some of you may recall back in October 2014 a post on this blog about FutureLearn (@FutureLearn) running an introductory statistics course, entitled “Data to Insight“, developed by the University of Auckland. You can check the post here.

Now the lead academic from the course, Professor Chris Wild, has made all of the video material from the MOOC freely available. You can peruse the course index from his home page at the University of Auckland (stat.auckland.ac.nz) and view all the videos on his YouTube channel.

There is no question that outside of the MOOC framework this will be a tough introduction to statistics without some prior knowledge or a tutor to guide you but it would certainly complement exiting study or self-study for those willing to give it a go.

You can comment on all the videos via YouTube.

WinAtSchool – Big Bang Prize Draw Winners

Winton LogoYou may recall back in March we attended the Big Bang Science and Engineering Fair in Birmingham and a number of NearMe Big Bang events regionally, this was to promote our WinAtSchool competition, sponsored by Winton Capital Management.

Throughout the events we were running two prize draws; one for any pupil that took part as a result of attending a Big Bang and similarly one for any class. The individual prize was a £25 Amazon Voucher while the class prize was a £100 Amazon Voucher.

We randomly selected and informed the winners last week and are now delighted to announce the results.

  • The individual winner was from The Compton School in London. It was especially pleasing  that the winner had got top marks.
  • The class that won was from Ysgol y Creuddyn a School in Llandudno, Wales. The teacher there told us they used the quiz for GCSE mathematics examination preparation.

We would like to thank the hundreds of pupils that took part individually, either at the events themselves or outside of school, and all the teachers who got 8 or more of their pupils to have a go while at school.

The WinAtSchool final is to be held on the 1st of July in Reading (more details can be found on the website).

WinAtSchool.org.uk

Census Applications: Using the UK population census data

The UKData Service are holding a two day event at the University of Manchester in July (16 – 17) entitled “Census Applications: Using the UK population census data“.

The UK population census data provides the most compressive snapshot of life in the UK today, it isn’t just about allocating money to local authorities to run public services it can be used to help to track and analyse social and economic trends and capture the diversity of our people.

This looks to be a highly informative event.  You can find out more by visiting the UKData Service on the link below. There is also a link to our very own CensusAtSchool project, that demonstrates how census data can be introduced to the classroom to enliven multiple subjects with real data.UKData Service Logo