Research-based guidance and classroom activities for teachers of mathematics

Reasoning about data

We have identified seven themes within the key idea of reasoning about data: inference, variability, sampling, context, signal and noise, graphs, and re-sampling

Each theme page has links to relevant online activities and resources. A full list of all activities for reasoning about data is on the right hand side of this page.

The scope of statistics

Statistical reasoning draws on contexts that relate not only to mathematics but to most disciplines in the school curriculum. It is an invaluable tool for rooting out possible causes and associations.  

There are clear connections with mathematics. For example, variability is a key characteristic of phenomena that students are trying to describe, or model, or simply to comprehend. Variability occurs when considering mathematical functions and other entities that might be described algebraically or geometrically. However, variability that might be modelled statistically has added layers of complexity because the variability may (or may not) be attributable to a number of causes.

It is important to develop particular ways of reasoning statistically as a variation on mathematical variability, as well as a tool for making sense of data in other disciplines, or to improve statistical literacy generally.

Statistics as a form of enquiry

Traditionally, statistics has been presented in the curriculum as a subject where students simply compute numerical and graphical representations of data. However, recent reform is re-positioning the teaching of statistics as a form of enquiry.