News › 2014

The following post was prepared by the NZSA Education committee. 

Ethics – an opportunity for discussion with our students.

Ethics, and addressing ethical aspects of practice, is a very important part of all research that involves people and animals.  Some of our current standards give us a wonderful opportunity to discuss this issue with our students.

For example:

Experiments Standards 91265 (2.10) and 91583 (3.11)

There are many very interesting historical psychology experiments that, nowadays, would never be permitted due to ethical considerations.  See for examples that include the Harlow’s Rhesus Monkey Experiments, the Milgram Obedience Experiment and The Standford Prison Experiment.

Examining some of these classic experiments allows students to look at the ethics from our current society’s perspective, including aspects of informed consent.  This is an opportunity to naturally incorporate some of our New Zealand Curriculum values into a lesson.

Ideally, when students are designing and running their own experiments on other students, they should include a statement around consent. A standard phrase could simply be:  “By completing this experiment you are indicating your consent to participate in this research.”

Questionnaire Design Standard  91263 (2.8)

Informed consent can be easily incorporated into the questionnaire design process with a simple phase: “By completing this questionnaire you are indicating your consent to participate in this research.”  Discussion of what information questionnaire participants may want before consenting can occur for example: Will I remain anonymous? What will the information I give be used for? Who will see my responses?  These considerations are especially important when questionnaires involve sensitive subjects.

Bivariate Data Standard  91581 (3.9)

Discussions of causality and how to prove a causal relationship take students back to designing experiments.  An example of this is the claim that smoking causes lung cancer – how would you prove that nowadays?

If you have any resources you use to teach ethical considerations involving Statistical experiments or Causality and would like to share these please contact

Correspondence regarding this post may be sent to:

Dr Michelle Dalrymple
Mike Camden, for the NZ Statistical Association Education Committee

We are currently preparing for CensusAtSchool 2015/16! The current survey (2013/2014) will remain open until the end of the 2014 school year.

The new questionnaire will be available to preview later this year, along with more details about registering and important dates.

Thank you to all the teachers who have provided ideas and feedback for next year’s questionnaire.

Here is a link for the Mathematics Facilitator (Secondary) 2014 survey.

The URL to the survey is:

The replies that we receive will help craft and focus on the demands that Middle leaders and teachers are experiencing and require support in next year.

Can you please aim to complete the survey by the end of this term (Last day 26th September).

The 2013 survey was very useful in crafting the Mathematics Facilitator (Secondary) PLD for this year, e.g. the Literacy/Mathematics workshops would not have happened if there had not been the demand shown from the survey.

Updates to NZ Grapher

Jake Wills from Westlake Boys High School has created a Youtube channel for those of you getting started with NZGrapher with some tutorial videos on it. You can access this here:

Recent changes include:

  • Added in informal confidence intervals for dot plots (this if for the Year 12 internal)
  • Changed the way the labels for this button appear as well to make it more clear what each one does.

The following changes have also been made in an attempt to get students to write about what they see rather than what is calculated as a first step:

  • Scatter plots no longer automatically add in the trend line, this must be added in by clicking the ‘Regression Line’ button.
  • Dot plots no longer automatically show the summary statistics or box and whiskers, this must be added in by clicking the ‘Summaries’ or ‘Box Plots’ buttons.

MathsNZ and NZGrapher are free for you to use. If you want Jake to create a folder for you so you can upload your own datasets for all your students to access easily without having to download them and re-upload them, contact Jake at MathsNZ.

Articles and updates on all aspects of Mathematics and Statistics for teaching and learning.

Professional reading for middle managers and teachers.

Maths-Stats T3 Newsletter 2014

New Zealand teachers if you have not yet used Tinker plots here is your chance! Used in conjunction with Ruth Kaniuk’s resources this will enhance the way you teach probability concepts. Use the author advanced search function on C@S to find all of Ruth’s resources.

Today we are releasing Version 2.2 of TinkerPlots.  This is a special, free version, which will expire in a year  — August 31, 2015.

To start the downloading process

Go to the TinkerPlots home page and click on the Download TinkerPlots link in the right hand panel. You’ll fill out a form. Shortly after submitting it, you’ll get an email with a link for downloading.

Help others find the TinkerPlots Download page

If you have a website, blog, or use a social media site, please help us get the word out so others can find the new TinkerPlots Download page. You could mention that you are using TinkerPlots 2.2 and link to

Why is this an expiring version?

As we explained in this correspondence, until January of 2014, TinkerPlots was published and sold by Key Curriculum, a division of McGraw Hill Education. Their decision to cease publication caught us off guard, and we have yet to come up with an alternative publishing plan. We created this special expiring version to meet the needs of users until we can get a new publishing plan in place.

What will happen after version 2.2 expires?

By August 2015, we will either have a new publisher lined up, or we will create another free version.  What is holding us up right now is our negotiations with the University of Massachusetts Amherst, who currently owns TinkerPlots.  Once they have decided about their future involvement with TinkerPlots, we can complete our discussions with various publishing partners.

If I have versions 2.0 or 2.1 should I delete them?

No, you should keep them. You already paid for these, and they are not substantively different from version 2.2. If and when a new version of TinkerPlots is ready for sale, you may not want to pay for it.  So keep your early version that you’ve already paid for.
Cliff and Craig

New Large Data Sets on C@S

Michelle Dalrymple of Cashmere High School and Royal Society teacher fellow, has edited and put into a user friendly format 2 large data sets from Statistics New Zealand and one from C@S.

These are now available in the data viewer on C@S and iNZight to sample from.

Birth SURF 2006

Data summary

  • 10,000 observations (synthesized newborn children)
  • 29 variables – 20 categorical and nine numeric variables

NZ Income Survey SURF 2011

Data summary

  • 29447 observations (synthesized people)
  • Eight variables – five categorical, 1 grouped numeric (age bands) and two numeric variables

NOTE: These are large data sets suitable for exploratory use with Achievement Standards
91035 (1.10), 91036 (1.11), 91264 (2.9), 91581 (3.9) and 91582 (3.10)

Census at School Data Sets (UK, NZ, OZ, CA)

Comparison for these 4 countries is now possible.



The statistics forum at NZAMT13 (Wellington, October 2013) enabled a large number  (about 40) of NZ’s most concerned and committed teachers of the statistics in Mathematics and Statistics to state their concerns. We hope that this document summarises their concerns, and is useful in guiding decisions about resource provision of all kinds.

The timing is notable: the NZ mathematics education community is approaching the end of  year one for the new curriculum-aligned level 3 achievement standards. Teachers had recently planned for this and delivered on it. The issues are fresh and ongoing.

The participants formed a group who could speak with authority: as well as the 40 leading teachers, the group included 6 members of the NZ Statistics Association’s education committee, and the conference’s 2 visiting statistical plenary speakers.  The forum was called by members of the education committee, chaired by Nicola Ward-Petty, and recorded by Marion Steel. Marion drafted this document, and Mike Camden edited it.

Marion Steel, Mike Camden (, for the NZ Statistical Association Education Committee,  June 2014.

NZAMT13 forum statistics education resources


“BULLYING is now the number-one issue troubling school kids across Australia.

New analysis of data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ Census at Schools survey shows a dramatic rise in both the level of concern Aussie kids have about bullying and the number of hours children are spending in front of a computer screen.

Experts warn this is no coincidence, with smartphones, tablets and social media sites, giving kids fewer opportunities to go home and escape playground bullies.

In 2006, when Australian schoolchildren were spending an average of just three hours a week on a computer, their primary concern was tackling pollution in the country’s waterways.

But with average weekly computer use soaring fourfold to 13 hours in 2013, primarily driven by the popularity of social media sites, kids across every state and territory now nominate bullying as the key issue affecting their daily lives.”

Read more »

Articles and updates on all aspects of Mathematics and Statistics for teaching and learning.

Professional reading for middle managers and teachers.

Maths-Stats Newsletter T2 2014