Statistics Teaching Ideas

Ideas and resources

Here you should find a wealth of resources that can be used by you and your students for teaching this topic. The resources at the top of the page are activities and investigations aimed at creating a stimulating and engaging environment in the classroom. With these activities you can create opportunities for students to really explore the Mathematics they are studying and discover some of the ideas for themselves!

These lessons need to be backed up with practise activities and so below there are links to worksheets aimed at practising the skills learned and to some short tests. There also some IB style questions, some note taking tasks and an end of topic test!

There is also a section called 'The Internet Guide' which provides a brief guide to some of the best related internet items that students could use to back up there studies.

 Interpreting World Statistics

This is an activity I do with students right at the beginning of the course It is actually a part of a cross-curricular day we do on World War 2 to launch the IB course. It is a great way to get students using and thinking about the role of statistics and the way they describe our world.


Make use of these two excellent virtual manipulatives to get at the ideas of correlation coefficient and line of best fit leading to regression lines. For Maths Studies students this is a perfect way to discover what these two concepts really mean

 UK number ones

Please follow the link to a page of resources designed around a database with 50 years of history on UK number one singles! See also the section on 'Possible Ideas' where there is a description of how an IA project could be shaped around this idea. Use the exercises as a practice project, or individually to practise parts of the statistics syllabus or however you see fit.

 Comparing Data Distributions

Often the key point students miss about statistics is the role of comparison. Data usually takes on a lot more meaning when two sets are compared. This activity involves 7 sets of fictitious data that have lots of differences and lots of things in common. The aim is to get students really thinking about the significance of their calculations, whilst understanding something simple like the fact that two data sets have the same mean, does not make them the same!

 Olympic Circles

This is a project I did with students based on the idea of making infographics. I think making infographics is a lovely way of combining statistics and geometry and offer slightly different avenue for project work. This activity is about comparing data from countries in the 5 participating continents represented by the olympic circles. Students remake the circles in different sizes to represent the data.

 Wisdom of the Crowd

This is a truly wonderful theory! Ask one hundred people to guess the number of sweets in a jar and you will get a range of different answers! The mean of their guesses will be pretty close to the right answer. Extraordinary and well worth testing. This activity offers videos and pictures of prepared jars to try this out. Also there is an ever growing data base of guesses that students can work with the test the theory!

 Independence Day

This activity is about understanding what the chi2 test independence is and when to use it. Its a new, unfamilar and complicated concept that is really worth exploring to support comprehension. The activity also offers the opportunity to collect some live data to do a chi2 test with. That context adds a good degree of interest.

 Quick ideas

 Statistical Glossary

This is a research based activity that aims to get students to collect and understand the purpose and place of different statistical tools. The result should be a useful glossary that they can make further use of throughout the study of the topic and possibly during the projects.

 Degrees of Freedom

Have some fun investigating degrees of freedom. Why is the DoF only 1 in a 2 x 2 table? A change to one number gives rise to changes in all of the others! How does this apply to bigger tables?

 Anscombes quartet

Four different data sets with the same statistical properties but the graphs are distinctly different. This is a great and simple activity that helps students to understand how to pay attention to the limits of their conclusions. Follow this link  Anscombes Quartet

 Regression machine

Get students to build a spreadsheet that calculates correlation coefficient and the regression line. The spreadsheet should be for a given number of data pieces that can be changed and so everything else changes accordingly.


Can you generate a normal distribution? Have a go? Start by generating a set of data with a given mean, then a given standard deviation, then try and get the right percentage of the data items within the standard deviations for the distribution to be considered normal! Here is the first draft of a  Normal spreadsheet that could be used fot his activity.

 Chi Squared calculator

Along the same lines again - get students to make their own Chi squared value calculator. Doing this is a perfect test of understanding and then a very useful tool alongside activities like  Independence Day... Download the example from the link above, show students what it can do and then ask them to build their own!

See Also....

 The Internet Guide

This page is designed to be a brief guide to some of the best related Internet items on this topic that students could use to back up their studies.

This page contains a growing list of videos freely available on the internet that could be used to help the teaching of this module. Each video comes with a brief explanation of how and when it may be used. It may also link to an                                     activity on the site

 Data Sources

This is not an activity but rather a working list of some excellent internet based data sources that teachers and students should find useful. The guide comes along with some ideas about possible uses.

 Statistics Practice

This page has a variety of tasks designed for practise and revision.


This page links to a series of focussed worksheets for this topic. The worksheets consist largely of 'Practise Questions' but most finish with more open ended questions to extend. Ultimately, students need to be able to answer questions from a variety of topics and contexts, but often it is necessary to spend some time focussing on particular skills whilst still in the process of learning them. The worksheets are clearly titled according to the particular sub-topic and come complete with answers.

Revision Notes

This is a series of 'Fill in the Gaps' notes that I have created to help students keep useful records of the course. The rationale is explained in more detail on the 'Exams and Revision' pages. Essentially the aim is bridge the gap between Students making their own notes on a blank canvas and being given detailed notes that they did not create.

Tests/Assessments - Planned!

This page contains some assessments for use with this module

Short Tests

These are just a few short tests aimed at testing smaller subdivisions of the topic with IB style questions. The more exposed students are to past paper style questions, the more familiar they become with them and hopefully the more adept they become at handling them. The tests can be used for '30 minute quizzes' as the topic is taught.

End of Topic Test

Here is a 1 hour long end of topic test made up of 'IB style' questions that cover the syllabus items from this topic. This is a great opportunity to create a real IB exam experience.

Quick Test

There are hundreds of past paper questions and exercises available for this purpose and the challenge is trying not to reproduce questions and to put together collections of questions that serve your purpose. The 'Quick Test' series (there is one for every module) was written with an end of course revision day in mind but could be used at any other time as well. This page links to the quick test for Number and Algebra and there is a link to the document itself as well.


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