1330.0 - Education News, May 2009  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 27/05/2009   
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Education News - May, 2009

This newsletter highlights the latest curriculum related teaching resources, student activities and statistical tools that have been developed by ABS Education Services as well as other ABS resources that are useful for schools.


  1. CensusAtSchool News
  2. Australian Social Trends
  3. An Idea for the Classroom
  4. Tourism and the Economy
  5. Free ABS Workshops for Teachers
  6. New Geography Activity
  7. Teaching Civics in Primary School
  8. Recently Released Publications
  9. Contact details

1. CensusAtSchool News

CensusAtSchool LogoAs the 2008 Data Phase continues, random samples continue to be generated from the Random Sampler. There have been almost 40,000 samples taken since July 2008.

Encourage students to generate their own samples of data.The value of this strategy is that it lets students take ownership of the data and allows them to explore variation. The application possibilities are diverse and the learning opportunities are endless; take a random sample and compare it to your class data, download one of the Information Tables and print a copy for students to complete for homework, create an assessment task with real life application or use one of the prepared CensusAtSchool classroom activities. Geography students can investigate opinions on environmental issues or use Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to analyse different methods of travel to school. Commerce students can conduct a socio-economic investigation by combining income sources with other variables including age, gender and location. To see how other schools are using CensusAtSchool in the classroom, visit the Community pages.

NEW Data for calculators

An important strength of CensusAtSchool is that the data can be downloaded into spreadsheets, data visualisation software and calculators for analysis.

Students can now download a random sample of 2008 CensusAtSchool data onto their calculator for analysis. Data files are provided in three popular formats: Excel, TNS and VCP , the later are directly downloadble to Texas Instruments TI-Nspire and Casio ClassPad calculators. The Excel files can be converted into compatible formats suitable for the calculator used by the class.

Senior students will find these files especially useful in mathematics, as the datasets can be used to perform higher level statistical functions using graphics calculators. There are 4 types of datasets ready for downloading:

  • Categorical data - investigate eye colour, water conservation, method of travel to school or internet access.
  • Discrete data - find out the average hours of sleep students get on a non-school day, how many bedrooms compared to people living in the home, and how much money students earn?
  • Continuous data - variables include dominant hand reaction time, concentration times, travel time to school and height.
  • Bivariate data - explore relationships between various body measurements including height, belly-button height, arm span and length of right foot. Does the data support the principles of the Golden Ratio?

Visit the Data for Calculators page to download a sample.

How to get involved: Generate a Random Sample from the Student Area of the website. Please contact the CensusAtSchool Team if you have a query or if you would like to provide some feedback. We'd love to hear from you.

2. Australian Social Trends, March 2009

Australian Social Trends IconCouples are more likely to be in de facto relationships than in the past, women do two thirds of the housework, men do two thirds of the paid work, energy consumption is up 49% over 20 years and the greatest use of solar energy is in the Northern Territory where over half of the households use it. These are some of the interesting data from Australian Social Trends (cat no. 4102.0) which presents analysis and commentary on current social issues under eight broad headings: population; family and community; health; education and training; work; economic resources; and housing.

There is also a set of international tables that compare Australia with 17 other nations on topics such as population growth, population projections, life expectancy, health expenditure, labour force, unemployment and student performance.

3. An Idea for the Classroom - Gender Differences in Study

Are Males and Females Studying Different Disciplines?

Dataset S13 contains a summary table of the Courses of Study of males and females aged 15 to 64 as at May 2008. The table below shows the top 4 areas of study for males and females (excluding those studying Year 12 and below). What similarities are there? What differences? How might this have changed over time? Does your class' pattern of future study intentions match this pattern?

Number ('000)
Engineering / related
Architecture / building
Management / Commerce
Society and Culture

Do you have a classroom idea that uses ABS data or ABS Education products? Let us know at education@abs.gov.au and we can share it with schools around Australia.

4. Tourism and the Economy

Picture of marketIn April, the ABS released estimates of the direct contribution of the tourism industry to the Australian economy. (Australian National Accounts: Tourism Satellite Account, 2007-08 (cat no. 5249.0)) The table below summarises the flow of tourism consumption through the Australian economy for the year ended June 2008. The publication also discusses the growth in tourism consumption, employment in tourism over time and visitor numbers.

Flow chart of tourism consumption through Aust economy
The information in this publication could be very useful for students of Tourism, Business Studies, Economics or for those with a personal interest in this area.

5. Free ABS Workshops for Teachers
Image of computerThe free computer based workshops that have been run around the country over the past few months have been very successful. Again, participants overwhelmingly found the days useful and interesting.

There are still spaces available in the Melbourne workshop to be held on Wednesday June 10. If you would like further details, or to enrol please contact Gai Mooney on (03) 9615 7530 or Free Call 1800 623 273 asap. The session will be held at the ABS Offices, La Trobe St, Melbourne and begins at 9:30 (to conclude at 3:00). There is no charge for the day.

Although specifically aimed at Teacher Librarians, the course would be useful for many teachers as it covers both economic and social data and how to find what you are after from the ABS website.

6. New Geography Activity - Journey to School
How do your students get to school - do the majority walk, catch public transport or are they driven? What is the most common method of transport across Australia? How does this change with age? How do the adults in your school area go to work? What proportion use public transport, travel by car, etc? What is the carbon footprint of these trips?

These are some of the questions that can be addressed with the new Geography activity, 'Journey to School'. This resource can be used in junior secondary classes or extended for more senior students. It uses CensusAtSchool data and Census 2006 results to construct a picture of your local area.

Visit the Geography Section of the Education Services website to access this and other Geography activities.

7. Teaching Civics in Primary School
Want to engage your students in Civics? A Tale of Two Worlds is a free award winning resource from ABS Education Services. The CD-ROM contains 16 interactive learning resources across 3 levels of difficulty. Show your students why planning is important, how data is collected and the benefits of data collections such as the Census.

This resource was first produced in 2001 and updated in 2006. If you cannot locate the copy at your school, contact us and we will post out the free CD.

8. Recently Released Publications

Remember, all ABS publications are free to download from the ABS website.

Employee Earnings, Benefits and Trade Union Membership, Australia, Aug 2008 (cat no. 6310.0)
This publication presents information about the distribution of weekly earnings of employees, their entitlement to leave (paid holiday, paid sick, paid long service and paid maternity/paternity leave), superannuation coverage and trade union membership. It is cross classified with a range of characteristics such as sex, age, industry, occupation and full-time or part-time status.

Perspectives on Migrants, 2009 (cat no. 3416.0) This publication presents data on permanent and temporary migration to Australia over time. It includes information on the characteristics of migrants (age, sex, country of origin, etc), settlement outcomes and also has an article on skilled migration.

Migrant Statistics News, Apr 2009(cat no. 3413.0) Migrant Statistics News is the half-yearly newsletter of the National Migrant Statistics Unit. The newsletter highlights developments in migrant and ethnicity related statistics, and provides relevant information for researchers, policy makers, service providers and others with an interest in this field.
Housing Finance, Australia, Feb 2009 (cat no. 5609.0) This publication contains time series data for housing finance commitments. It presents the number and value of commitments made by banks, permanent building societies, wholesale lenders and other lenders for owner occupied housing finance.

National Health Survey: Summary of Results, 2007-08 (cat no. 4364.0)

Contains a cross-section of survey results, including selected national statistics about long-term illnesses experienced; mental wellbeing; consultations with doctors and other health professionals; and health risk factors including alcohol consumption, smoking, exercise, body mass and dietary practices.
State based Statistics:
Each State and Territory periodically produces a publication that examines recent statistics that relate to that state/territory. Over the past few months, the following publications have been released.

    Statistics Victoria, March 2009 (cat no. 1100.2) This is a quarterly newsletter providing information about new developments, recent statistical releases, seminars, training and reviews.

    Qld Stats, April 2009 (cat no. 1318.3) The electronic magazine contains an overview of Queensland's key economic and social indicators presented in graphs, tables and analytical summaries with links to more detailed products.

    Tasmanian Key Indicators, March 2009 (cat no. 1304.6) This monthly publication contains the latest social and economic summary data on Tasmania, including labour force, wages and prices, tourism, finance, consumption and investments, state accounts, population, living arrangements, mortality, education and health.

    Western Australian Statistical Indicators, March 2009 (cat no. 1367.5) This publication contains the most recent statistics for Western Australia covering state accounts, prices, consumption, investment and finance, construcation, trade, mining and energy, agriculture, tourism, labour market, population, crime, and social trends

    NSW State and Regional Indicators, March 2009 (cat no. 1338.1) provides summary economic and social information about NSW as well as information about relevant statistical releases, events and training.

    SA Stats, April 2009 (cat no 1345.4) This provides an overview of the South Australian population and economy. The publication is updated on a monthly basis with most releases also featuring an article that provides a South Australian focus on economic, social and environmental issues.

You can view the full range of previously released publications and upcoming releases from the ABS home page under Product Releases.

9. Contact details
        How to contact ABS Education Services

        Free Call: 1800 623 273
        email: education@abs.gov.au

        Mail: GPO Box 2796
        Melbourne, 3001


        Education News is a totally free resource that aims to assist teachers use ABS data in their classroom. When you subscribe you will be notified of each new edition as it is published.