UK Number ones

'What has changed about popular music in the last 60 years? - a mini project'

Answer this question by looking at the history of number one singles in the UK! This activity can be used in a number of ways and there are resources below to help. Each of the suggestions comes with a structured worksheet that you may or may not want to use to answer the questions. You might also choose to make your own questions! Please find below, a database and a number of activities to help answer this question.

The Database

Please download the Number Ones database that you will need for the activities below!
Here is an extract just to give you an idea!

Making Hypotheses

Anyone who likes their music will want to look at this database and test out their theories on how popular music has changed. Making hypotheses is the crucial place to start!

How long is a song number one?

Are we in the age of one hit wonders? Did it used to be like that? What is the longest a song has stayed at number one? These questions and more in this exercise.  How long number one!

Popular genre

What sort of songs make it to the top? Has that changed over the years? Use pie charts to look at this with this activity.  Popular genre

How long is a hit song?

What's the secret formula? How long should it be? Look at how the length of songs has changed. Use grouped and cumulative frequency to answer these questions. How long is the song?

Can you make box and whisker diagrams like this one? Which one goes with each decade?

Music while you work!

Here are some videos (part of series) going through some nostalgic number ones!

Teacher Notes

Why I like this activity....

Like it or not, its hard to avoid popular music! This database is bound to get everybody talking and provides an excellent opportunity to test and practise statistical methods in an engaging context!

How this activity can be used....

Lots of choices here! The database is the real activity and in its broadest form the question is 'What makes a good number one single?' Above are just a selection of activities you could run with this database. Do them as they are or bend them or add your own. Take care to be sure if it is practise of making charts by hand or just interpreting you want to do so that you can make the most appropriate use of technology to help you!

What to expect when using this activity, from my experience...

Lots of animated discussion. It is a challenge to channel this discussion into focussed activity and important to do so!

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Comments 3

Cindy Harrison 29 September 2016 - 11:35

HI Jim, I can't seem to download the spreadsheet of the data. I have tried different browsers.

Jim Noble 29 September 2016 - 12:04

Hi Cindy, I have sent it to you by e-mail. I had no problem downloading it..... mysterious. I have asked our tech support team to check it out. Thanks, Jim

Cindy Harrison 30 September 2016 - 09:38

Thanks Jim, Do you have results for each of these exercises?

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