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Introducing statistical variation in year 3 in a STEM context: manufacturing Licorice


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Watson, J ORCID: 0000-0002-6001-7248, Fitzallen, N ORCID: 0000-0002-0002-5748, English, L and Wright, S ORCID: 0000-0003-1541-0769 2019 , 'Introducing statistical variation in year 3 in a STEM context: manufacturing Licorice' , International Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology, vol. 51, no. 3 , pp. 354-387 , doi: 10.1080/0020739X.2018.1562117.

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As STEM education becomes more prominent at the school level, many possibilitiescould be suggested for beginning experiences to create a foundation for young studentsas they begin their journeys with respect to STEM learning. The research reported hereis based on the premise that building statistical understanding will enhance youngstudents’ learning as they engage with STEM learning experiences. This paper hencereports on an activity created to introduce students in Year 3 to the concept of statisticalvariation with data in a STEM-related context where variation occurs in an easilymeasured and realistic fashion. Students’ capabilities to appreciate the fundamentalnature of statistical variation and use it for comparison in a STEM context wereassessed through responses in student workbooks, to questions on an end-of-yearsurvey, and in individual interviews. The results illustrate the beginning stages ofstudent thinking about variation and the use of data when learning is embedded withina STEM context. They show that students can take on the idea of variation and use it inexplaining their experiences with the hands-on activity, which involved comparisons ofa hand-made and machine-made product

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Watson, J and Fitzallen, N and English, L and Wright, S
Keywords: STEM, statistics education, primary, modelling with data
Journal or Publication Title: International Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
ISSN: 0020-739X
DOI / ID Number: 10.1080/0020739X.2018.1562117
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis Group International, Journal of Mathematical Education in Sciences and Technology on 2/1/2019, available online:

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