CensusAtSchool NZ a statistical experience for school children…

This month saw the nationwide launch of CensusAtSchool NZ, an online survey for children to do at school as part of their Maths lessons. The project is educationally motivated and joins an international initiative which is based in the UK but has also happened in South Africa, Queensland, South Australia and is planned for Canada.

The New Zealand project is hosted by the Department of Statistics at the University of Auckland, coordinated by Megan Jowsey, HOD
Maths at Birkenhead College, who has a one year NZ Science, Maths and Technology teacher fellowship awarded by the Royal Society of NZ. The publicity and web design is the work of Rachel Cunliffe of the Department of Statistics, with webserver technical work by James McGrail. The project has been supported by academic staff within the Department of Statistics, while Statistics NZ and the Ministry of Education have provided advice and guidance.

The project aims to involve children in the collection of real data that is relevant to their lives, so that hopefully their Statistics lessons will be more meaningful and interesting. The data will form part of the multivariate international data base and provide opportunities for children to compare themselves with their peers from within NZ and the other countries involved. Teaching resources, results and samples of
raw data will be available to teachers and students once the census is complete.

In the first 4 weeks over 15,000 students from 350 schools have completed the survey and with one more week to go the projection is for over 20,000 children to be involved. The response from schools so far is very positive!! TVNZ have helped boost the participation rate with coverage on “Holmes”. You can visit the CensusAtSchool web page at http://www.censusatschool.org.nz/.

Megan Jowsey

Source: http://nzsa.rsnz.org/newsletter/News58.pdf