The RSS Glasgow Local Group developed an outreach activity for pupils aged 6-8, which they took to primary schools during and after Maths Week Scotland (30 September – 6 October 2019).
The activity, 'Think stats!', was designed in line with the Curriculum for Excellence benchmarks for level 1 and uses core numeracy skills such as counting and fractions, in addition to incorporating soft skills such as presentation and team working.
The aim of the workshop is to teach the students that mathematics and statistics are not just about right and wrong but can also incorporate an element of creativity. Mathematical and statistical concepts are combined with arts and crafts to give all pupils greater engagement in the mathematical curriculum.
The activity itself introduces the students to basic survey design; they were asked to answer questions which relate to their daily lives, and then think about whether there were any questions which they found difficult to answer. The pupils were then introduced to the idea of data visualisation, as they learn about pie charts, bar charts and dot plots. In small groups of around four or five, the students were asked to produce a data visualisation of one of the questions that they have answered, using materials ranging from pen and paper to building blocks. Each group then told us what they found out about their classmates from this one simple visualisation.
There was huge interest from schools across the wider Glasgow area (with over 40 schools expressing interest) – members from the group were able to visit three schools prior to Maths Week, three schools during Maths week and more are planned in the future.
The content is currently being adapted for students aged 13-15. The activity would be used to promote mathematics and statistics careers to students before they make subject choices for National 5 and Highers.