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Supporting Australian Mathematics Project: Middle years.

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Year 9

Statistics and Probability

Comparing data

Statistics and statistical thinking have become increasingly important in a society that relies more and more on information and calls for evidence. Hence the need to develop statistical skills and thinking across all levels of education has grown, and is of core importance in a century which will place even greater demands on society for statistical capabilities throughout industry, government and education.
A natural environment for learning statistical thinking is through experiencing the process of carrying out real statistical data investigations from first thoughts, through planning, collecting and exploring data, to reporting on its features. Statistical data investigations also provide ideal conditions for active learning, hands-on experience and problem solving. No matter how it is described, the elements of the statistical data investigation process are accessible across all educational levels.
Real statistical data investigations involve a number of components: formulating a problem so that it can be tackled statistically; planning, collecting, organising and validating data; exploring and analysing data; and interpreting and presenting information from data in context. No matter how the statistical data investigative process is described, its elements provide a practical framework for demonstrating and learning statistical thinking, as well as experiential learning in which statistical concepts, techniques and tools can be gradually introduced, developed, applied and extended as students move through schooling.

The examples and new content of this unit are developed within the statistical data investigation process through the following:

  • considering initial questions that motivate an investigation
  • identifying issues and planning
  • collecting, handling and checking data
  • exploring and interpreting data in context.

Such phases lend themselves to representation on a diagram, as follows.

Clockwise directed arrows linking four statements arranged in a circle.
Detailed description