Integration into the syllabus
QueenslandThe junior mathematics curriculum explicitly states in its Chance and Data Strand for students to experiment, collect, analyse, explore and interpret their own data; communicate mathematics clearly; and to engage in group work. The Statistics Poster Competition for Years 8 and 9 is the perfect way to do all three.
However, students are strongly encouraged to select a project topic in an area of interest in a school subject other than mathematics. It is important that both teachers and students see statistics as a tool which can be applied profitably in practically every discipline area. The involvement of teaching staff from other discipline areas is anticipated and encouraged. Some projects may even qualify for assessment in more than one subject. (That should encourage some students!)
While the junior (and senior) school syllabi of many subjects taught in Australian secondary schools include general reference to the use of statistical methods, many contain specific reference to hypothesis generation and testing, prediction, cause and effect and other statistical concepts and methods. For example, the general objectives in Biology often include (amongst others) the ability to hypothesise, infer and predict, relate cause and effect, distinguish observations from inferences and identify errors in measurement.
Earth Sciences typically include sections on scientific process and complex reasoning processes including references to designing experiments, discussing interrelationships and making inferences.
The objectives stated in Ancient History syllabi commonly involve historical inquiry procedures requiring the gathering of data and the formulation and testing of hypotheses.
Home Economics typically includes as part of its process objectives and learning experiences the collection of information through experimentation, observation and measurement, the formulation of hypotheses, assessment of evidence, and drawing of valid conclusions.
The general objectives and assessment techniques in Chemistry and Physics typically include the designing and conducting of experiments, the testing of hypotheses, identification of variables, evaluation and communication of information, and identification of error in experimental design.
Cross-disciplinary projects are possible between Mathematics and any of Physical Education, Economics, Japanese, Business Studies, English, Journalism, Geography, Music, or Art. In fact it is difficult to think of a subject that could not provide an idea for a statistical project!