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More than 500 teachers expected at statistics roadshow

Auckland, November 1, 2012: More than 500 teachers are expected to flock to a national road tour this month that aims to support their teaching of a new statistics curriculum to Year 13 students.

The road tour starts in Auckland on November 22 and travels to Christchurch, Dunedin and Wellington, offering presentations and real-life resources to help teachers make the most of the curriculum from the start of the 2013 school year. More than 15,000 New Zealand students studied Year 13 statistics in 2011, the last year for which figures are available.

Co-organiser Professor Chris Wild, from the Department of Statistics at The University of Auckland, expects more than 500 teachers to take part. A core group of 11 presenters will travel to each centre, with local teacher organisations running each event.

“The road tour is about introducing teachers to new resources that assist with the new curriculum,” says Professor Wild. “The focus now is teaching students to interpret and investigate real-life data relevant to their lives and encouraging them to think like statisticians, rather than, say, putting numbers into formulas.” The new curriculum also reflects research by Associate Professor Maxine Pfannkuch, also of the Department of Statistics at The University of Auckland, into ways to make statistics teaching more effective.

Among the teachers developing and trialling the new Year 13 resources is teacher Dr Michelle Dalrymple, of Christchurch’s Cashmere High School, who has explored an exemplar on drink-driving, accident rates and risk factors with her students. “Exploring statistics through things students can relate to brings the subject to life,” she says.” They can bring their own ideas and experience to what we’re discussing and look further at what research has been done.”

The resources highlighted by the road tour will be permanently housed on the website of CensusAtSchool, a project that runs a biannual educational online survey in which schoolchildren answer questions about their lives, the results of which are then turned into data and teaching resources for use in class.

“Teachers are already big users of CensusAtSchool, says Professor Wild,” so it make sense to expand the site and make it a one-stop shop for statistics teachers. Teachers can also contribute new resources, rate what’s already there, and have their questions answered by specialists.”

The Road Tour is supported by The Teaching and Learning Research Initiative; the Department of Statistics, The University of Auckland; CensusAtSchool; the principals of Lynfield College, Cashmere High School, Westlake Girls High School and Avondale College; the Royal Society of New Zealand Endeavour Teacher Fellowship Scheme; and Team Solutions, a teacher professional development scheme run by the Faculty of Education at The University of Auckland.

Roadshow dates:

Auckland, Thursday 22 November, Tamaki Campus, The University of Auckland. Contact Ross Parsonage r.parsonage@auckland.ac.nz

Christchurch, Tuesday 27 November, University of Canterbury Department of Mathematics and Statistics. Contact Kristian Giles gilesk@staff.cbhs.school.nz

Dunedin, Wednesday 28 November, University of Otago. Contact Munro Doran, munro.doran@obhs.school.nz 

Wellington, Saturday 1 December, Wellington Girls’ College (Pipitea Block Level 1). Contact Nada Andic, nada.andic@qmc.school.nz 

The core presenters are: 

Rachel Passmore, Saint Kentigern College; Ruth Kaniuk, Lynfield College; Associate Professor Maxine Pfannkuch, The University of Auckland; Dr Michelle Dalrymple, Cashmere High School; Joss Cumming, The University of Auckland; Anna Martin, Avondale College; Dr Marie Fitch, The University of Auckland; Dru Rose, Westlake Girls High School; Marion Steel, Epsom Girls Grammar School; and Dr Stephanie Budgett, The University of Auckland.

For more information about the day and to register, go to: Statistics Teachers’ Day 2012.