New 'hands-on' stats materials to inspire at careers fairs

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The RSS has launched a series of short, statistics-related activities designed to inspire young people at careers fairs, festivals and in schools. 

Stands at careers fairs are generally more successful at attracting students if there are practical activities for students to get involved in. This is why the RSS Education Committee has developed four practical activities to encourage face-to-face interactions. 

The new Hands-on statistics activities introduce concepts such as bias (and how to use it to your advantage), randomness (how difficult it is to be completely 'random'), sampling (and when it can give a wrong answer) and conditional  probability (via the famous 'Monty Hall problem').

Each activity, which has a short instruction sheet and accompanying video demonstrating how it works, has been tested and used at public events such as school careers fairs and festivals.

Dr Laura Bonnett, RSS Education Committee member and NIHR post-doc fellow at the University of Liverpool who helped develop the materials, said: 'At the university of Liverpool we’ve seen real benefits from participating in careers fairs, for students, for recruitment, and for our students and staff volunteers. We’ve tested these ideas over a number of years and are glad to be sharing them with the wider RSS membership.'

Dr Simon R White, a senior investigator statistician at the MRC Biostatistics Unit, University of Cambridge, who also worked on the project, added: 'As an RSS Education Committee member, I think it’s important to encourage our fellow members to meet with and talk with the wider public, and school students in particular to promote statistical literacy. One of the barriers to engagement is planning something to highlight statistics. These resources provide well-tested, resource-light activities that members can use to engage people with statistics.'

Scott Keir, head of education and statistical literacy at the RSS, said: 'Meeting people who work with data is a powerful way of helping students to be aware of how statistics are used in employment and the wider world. I’m grateful to Laura and Simon, and everyone involved at the University of Liverpool and University of Cambridge, for sharing their expertise and experience with us on this resource. I look forward to hearing from our members about their use.'

This is the second set of careers resources for members, by members, available on the RSS website, alongside guidance on making connections with local schools.

Photo above shows Dr Bonnett presenting some of the new materials at the 2017 RSS Conference.


Education Committee