1003.0 - LEP Newsletter (Issue No. 48), May 2004  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 30/04/2004   
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Promoting statistics to young people

LEP public and joint community and school libraries will be interested to know about materials developed by the ABS National Education Services Unit (NESU) to teach children about statistics in a fun and "hands-on" way.

“We’re trying to encourage children to learn about statistics at a young age,” says Julie Nankervis from the NESU that is based in Victoria. “After all, much of modern life involves statistics so it’s important to help children develop an understanding of statistics.”

Julie says that barely a day goes by when there isn't some mention of statistics in the news, such as house prices, building approvals, car registrations or the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

"Statistics is essential for so many areas of learning these days, Even in subjects such as zoology or botany, statistics is important for predicting population size and measuring the spread of disease."

The NESU has developed, with teacher input, 140 lesson plans for varying ages. The materials cater for each age group and are updated each school year so they stay current and relevant. And they are all available free on the ABS web site. Student activity sheets for years 4 to 7 are called STATSERCISE and involve activities such as a rolling-the-dice game which teaches the concept of probability. For the older age groups, “exSTATic” provides real examples of analysing ABS datasets.

With more than 25,000 hits a month, the pages have proven very popular. People may print out the lesson plans and activity sheets, together with tables from the relevant ABS publications, from pdf files on the web site.