1330.0 - Education News, May 2011  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 02/05/2011   
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Education News - May, 2011

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. An Idea for the Classroom - Looking at where I live using Census 2006 data
  3. Reflecting a nation: stories from the 2011 Census, February 2011
  4. ABS Resources for Teachers - Census activities
  5. Conferences
  6. Stats Quest We Want Your Work for Our Community Pages
  7. New Census geographies – the building blocks are changing
  8. Recently Released Publications
  9. Contact Details

The theme for this edition of EdNews is the census as the next Census of Population and Housing will be held on 9 August 2011. Australia's first census was held in 1911, but regular 5 yearly collections were not begun until 1961. Due to the Great Depression in the 1930s, a census scheduled for 1931 was delayed for two years. You can read more about the Australian Census' history in Reflecting a Nation: Stories from the 2011 Census, which is discussed below.

Our teacher consultants, Jean and Mary-Anne have produced a great range of activities that have been designed to inform students about census processes. The activities will be featured on our webpages later in the year, but go to item 4 for a sneak preview.

This edition's feature profile is Jean Arnott. Jean has been a teacher consultant with the ABS since the beginning of 2010. Before that she taught in both primary and secondary schools in Melbourne. Her teaching subjects include: Mathematics, English as a Second Language and Legal Studies. Her main areas of interest and responsibility were Mathematics Key Learning Coordinator and Curriculum Coordinator at Blackburn High School. Jean likes to rock 'n' roll dance in her spare time.

1. CensusAtSchool News

CensusAtSchool LogoCensusAtSchool 2011 has almost twice as many submitted questionnaires as this time last year. We'd like this trend to continue, especially as many teachers want to analyse data about their neighbourhoods with their students; however, this is only possible if an adequate amount of data about the area to be investigated has been entered into the database. Please encourage other teachers at your school to have their classes complete the questionnaire.

Why not set a target of 1000 completed questionnaires from your area? Schools in the South Gippsland region of Victoria, including Korumburra, Wonthaggi and Leongatha Secondary Colleges, are working together to do just that. They want to be able to ask – and answer – questions that relate to their local young people and they can only do this if there are sufficient questionnaires submitted from the area. Mary-Anne Aram, from the ABS Education Services Unit, recently went to Korumburra Secondary College to assist local teachers from across the area make the most of CensusAtSchool.

How does participation in your state/territory compare with others? The graph below shows the proportion of submitted questionnaires from each state/territory and the proportion of the population in each state/territory. Some of the differences between states and territories reflect the timing of the statistics component in each curriculum, but you can make sure your state/territory is adequately represented.

Don't forget that there are hundreds of ideas for incorporating CensusAtSchool into your curriculum available on our website. As well as QuickC@S lessons that take a single lesson to complete and reinforce one concept, there are also longer tasks available. C@S activities have answer sheets and marking rubrics so you can use them for assessment.

We are also happy to receive your ideas to add to our Teacher Submitted Activities pages, so if you've used CensusAtSchool please pass on your ideas to other teachers.

2. An Idea for the Classroom – Looking at where I live using Census 2006 data
We know that student engagement can be increased when learning has relevance and when they are able to use technology. In this activity students use data from the 2006 Census of Populations and Housing to learn about their own area and how it compares to Australian as a whole. If student internet is not available, teachers can select and make copies of the data for their class. Students can then start at Task 2.

Task 1: Selecting the data for your area
    Enter the address www.abs.gov.au into the address bar of your internet browser.
    Select ‘Census’ from the global menu that runs horizontally across the top of the homepage.

    Select Data under Census Data in the Quicklinks menu that runs down the left hand side of the page.

    Go to Quick Stats and select 2006 Quick Stats. Enter your postcode or name of your locality into the Search Box and select Search.
    Double click on the location you want then select View Quick Stats. You should see a summary of the Census data that was collected for your area in 2006.
    Note: data can be selected then copied and pasted into a spreadsheet.
Task 2: Getting to know the data for your area
You will notice that the data about your area has been organised into categories. All Quick Stats categories contain data for that particular area as well as data for the whole of Australia.
    1. When we comment on statistical information we usually start by focussing on the areas that are the same as well as those that are very different. Read the information about your area carefully.
      1. Write three thing about your area that are what you expected.
      2. Write three things about your area that are not what you expected.
    2. Look at the percentage results for your area compared to the results for Australia. Discuss with a friend the way(s) in which the percentages are similar.
      1. Choose one of these and use the axes below to draw a side by side bar graph to show the similarities. Remember to give your graph a title and label your axes.
    3. Discuss in what way(s) your area's percentages are very different form the Australian population as a whole.
      1. Draw another side by side bar graph below to show one of the differences.
    4. You know your region very well. What might be the reasons for these similarities and differences?
    5. Imagine you are a journalist for your local newspaper just after these statistics were released. Write a newspaper report that explains the important statistics for your area. You might want to include what effects they might have on future needs of your area.
Note: the download version of this activity contains axes for students to draw their side by side graphs in.

ed News Quick Statsv2 worksheet.docx
Looking at where I live
Word 107 KB

We would love to hear feedback from anyone who finds the activity useful or has ideas for improving it.

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.

3. Reflecting a Nation: Stories from the 2011 Census, February 2011 (cat # 2071.0)

The first national census
In April 1911, on a fine autumn Monday, census collectors set out all over Australia under mostly clear skies to begin gathering in Australia’s first national census forms. They set out to cover inner-city slums and wealthy suburbs; rural towns and hundreds of miles of the outback. They travelled by bike or horse where they had the transport and needed to cover large areas, but mostly they travelled by foot. Some in Northern Queensland had to find their way through a flooded landscape while others in South Australia had difficulties finding water and fodder for their horses due to drought conditions.
This article was written by Beth Wright who is studying the history of the Australian Census for her PhD at the Australian National University. A full copy of Ms Wright's article, One Hundred Years of Working on the Census, is available from the ABS website.

This photo appeared in the Brisbane Courier 1 April 1911

4. ABS Resources for Teachers - Census Activities
Here's your sneak preview of and chance to download two new activities that won't appear on our webpages until later in the year.

Census Wordfind 322 KB
Graphing Indigenous Australian population 507 KB

5. Conferences

Recently Jean Arnott (Teacher Consultant) and Mary-Anne Aram (Education Services Manager) presented at the Coaches and Primary Maths Specialists conference in Melbourne, run by the Department of Education & Early Childhood Development. The presentation focussed on the seven components of authentic tasks outlined in Scaffolding Numeracy In the Middle Years 2003 - 2006 Research Project (RMIT). Using our online lessons and real statistics, teachers who attended the presentation looked at different ways to identify authentic tasks and how they could use them in place of text book tasks.

6. STATS QUEST: We Want Your Work for Our Community Pages

Student work for the online Community pages
Have your students been using lessons or data from the ABS? Teachers are invited to submit copies of exemplary student work by post or email to the ABS Education Services Unit. Unfortunately we are unable to return original copies. From these, lessons and data will be chosen to be posted on the Education Services web pages with acknowledgement given to the student and the school. When submitting lessons or data, remember to include your permission to publish work signed by the student and yourself and include the name of your school. Also, please ensure that you include your contact details so we can contact you if necessary. In addition, all students who have work submitted will be acknowledged with a certificate... a great way to reward students and promote high quality work in your classroom.

7. New census collection geographies – the building blocks are changing
The ABS is introducing a new geography for the collection of statistics from July 2011. Called the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS), the new structure will provide more stability and higher quality statistics.
Gone are the old collection districts which were the foundation of the previous classification. A collection district was like a jigsaw piece from which all larger regions were built. In its place is a unit called Statistical Areas Level 1 (SA1). The SA1 is the smallest unit for which most census data will be available and are designed with a population of around 400 persons for urban areas and 300 persons in rural areas. Beneath the SA1 is a mesh block which is the foundation stone or the smallest piece of the jigsaw puzzle from which the ABS geographies are constructed.

Greater Capital City Statistical Areas (GCCSA)
Statistics from the 2011 Census of Population and Housing will be available for Local Government Areas (LGA), postal areas, suburbs, electoral divisions and natural resource regions and drainage basins. Care will need to be exercised when making comparisons over time, especially in capital cities which have been enlarged, to reflect the commuter interaction between the city and surrounding areas.

8. Recently Released Publications

Schools, Australia, 2010 (cat # 4221.0)
The composition of Australian schools has changed significantly over the past 10 years – there are fewer government schools, but more teaching staff. Male teaching staff has increased by 5%, yet they still account for less than one third of all teaching staff. Students identifying as Indigenous have increased by 45%, and private school student numbers have also continued to grow. This publication contains the longitudinal trends of schools, students and staff in primary and secondary education, for both government and non-government schools in Australia. It also provides a fascinating snapshot into the structure and characteristics of schools today.

Perspectives on Culture, March 2011 (cat # 4172.0.55.001)
What sort of cultural activities and events do Australians like to frequent? In 2010, 90% of people attended the cinema more than once a year and 53% went five times or more. Young people and women are more likely than other groups to enjoy going to the movies regularly. This new biennial publication, which explores the attendance rates, characteristics and trends in cultural involvement among Australians, reveals a trend towards greater interest and engagement in culture and the arts.

Recorded Crime – Offenders, 2009-10 (cat # 4519.0)
The number of offenders in Australia is on the rise, with female offenders growing faster than males between 2008–9 and 2009–10. However, the number of male offenders is still overwhelmingly higher – 290,400 versus 84,100 for females. Young offenders, those aged 10–19 years, accounted for a third of all offenders and with the exception of Western Australia, one in four offenders were repeat offenders. The most prevalent offences committed were: acts intended to cause injury (19%); public order offences (19%); theft (17%); and illicit drugs (15%). This publication highlights the characteristics and crimes of offenders for all Australian States and Territories.

Australian Social Trends, Mar 2011 (cat # 4102.0)
Australians are living longer and more are completing year 12. In fact, life expectancy at birth has increased by 30 years over the past 125 years; the percentage of students completing year 12 has risen from 71% to 78% since 2001; and the percentage of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders with a Year 12 or a vocational qualification has jumped from 16% in 1994 to 37% in 2008. Despite these advances, disparity in health and education still exists between people living in outer regional remote areas of Australia and their urban counterparts. This publication explores the health and educational patterns of Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, using statistics to paint a detailed picture of Australian society.

Regional Population Growth, Australia, 2009-10 (cat # 3218.0)
Although two-thirds of Australians live in capital cities, more are choosing to live in outer suburbs. This publication presents estimated resident population counts for all Australian states and territories between 2001 and 2010, highlighting population changes over time. For instance, population growth has slowed in capital cities such as Darwin and Perth. The population has continued to grow in Melbourne and Sydney, and increased substantially in their outer suburbs such as Wyndham and Parramatta. Resident populations were estimated using Local Government Areas, Statistical Local Areas, Statistical Districts and Remoteness Areas of Australian states and territories.

Australian Labour Market Statistics, Apr 2011 (cat # 6105.0)
The Australian labour market has changed significantly over the past 30 years. Australians are working longer hours and the industries they are working in are changing too. For example, mining has become more popular while manufacturing has decreased in popularity. Employment rates have increased particularly in the Northern Territory which rose by 173% between 1978 and 2011. This publication compares the number of hours worked in each state and territory over time. It also details unemployment and underemployment, breaks down employment by industry and family type, and reveals the dynamic nature of the Australian labour market.

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

You can view the full range of previously released publications from the ABS under Previous 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

Visit us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/CensusAtSchool-Australia/196675585747
By clicking on the Facebook link you will be taken to a web page external to the ABS.

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.