Transcript of What's new – statistics and probability

Katherin Cartwright

Well, hello, and good afternoon, everyone. Welcome to our final session for the year in our series K-6 mathematics Adobe connect sessions. Thanks for joining us again. Today's session is on What's new: statistics and probability. I'm here with Chris Francis in the background, who will be answering questions in our chat today. Hopefully, she'll be able to answer your questions. If not, we'll get to them in a response email after our session today, so thanks for joining us. I know it's a busy time of the year for everyone, with report writing and presentation days coming up, so thanks for joining us today. So as I mentioned, today's session's on What's New: statistics and Probability.

So statistics and probability, our maths syllabus states, is developed initially in parallel, so they're sort of separate substrands that we teach throughout our K-6 syllabus, with the links between built progressively across the stages, so when it gets to Stage 2 and 3, they start to relate a lot more together as they develop into the statistics and probability strand that then extends into Stage 4 and 5. If we look at this on the organisation of content chart that we've been showing in our sessions, you can see statistics and probability sit over there in the orangey section. And we have Chance and data. So this is the same as what we currently have in our syllabus. It's just under a different strand title. So data used to be by itself and Chance was within Number, and now they've just been drawn back together under the title of Statistics and Probability. And you can see there where they develop into Stage 4 as well.

So our syllabus states that statistics is about collecting, organising, displaying and analysing data. And again, like in our other strand, it's based on real-life contexts using concrete materials first - that's for our early experiences. And we encourage our students to ask questions, so posing the questions themselves, and it's about interest, things that are interesting to them, and then we want them to investigate to then be able to collect the data. So it's about them developing the questions and investigating it for themselves, either by themselves or within a group.

The probability side of statistics and probability is chance, or that's where it starts out for us in Stage 1. And it's just about understanding the chance concepts at an early age. We want to build that understanding of chance situations that are further developed through experiments that we then produce data, so that's that link there, so they were parallel, and as we start to collect and represent data about the simple experiments, statistics and probability start to become an interrelated strand. So we want students to be able to make comparisons about the data they're collecting. And so in later stages, students see that chance concepts link to numerical probabilities, so when we start to look at those words like 'certain', 'uncertain', 'probable', 'probably', 'probably not' on a number line and how they relate to numbers.

I've just got a snippet there of language too that's from Stage 3, just to show you some of the language that's developing, and I'll go into that a little bit further now.

So in the previous sessions, we looked at some ... some progressions of learning, and in today's session, we really wanted to focus on language progression, statistics and probability and data and chance, as we sort of, I guess, currently know it, has a lot of language demands for our students and also for adults. A lot of adults don't understand the idea of chance and how it works. And it's quite a, you know, objective and subjective topic when we talk about it, so some people think about it as luck and some people see it as a much more mathematical term, so it's really good if we build these foundations upon the language and that students get a good understanding of that from the beginning. So in the data language... Chris has put them in different colours for us today. Just to try and show you the progression of how that language develops from Early Stage 1 to Stage 3, so there's some similarities there - you can see that...we talk about information that then becomes data. We talk about that they start by collecting, then it becomes gathering, then we create surveys, and then they tabulate the results. And you can see that they talk about groups, then categories, becomes categorical data, and then it delves into variables and numerical data, so you can see the language developing as we move through the stages. And then there's a whole lot of words that are just related around actually explaining what the data looks like and how we actually create the data into different forms. So there's a lot of language that needs to be developed around Data, some of it new, some of it we're quite familiar with already.

In Chance, the language progression, again, there's a whole lot of language that we're currently familiar with but not necessarily if you're a student who's from a non-English-speaking background. These kind of words can be quite problematic. So if you've got EAL/D learners in your school and a high number of those, then we need to focus on the language of Chance. And so this is a really nice link to literacy as one of the learning across the curriculum areas. So I've just highlighted a couple of words from each stage that I think are really important to get correct when we're talking with our students. So...that idea of 'possible' and 'impossible', a lot of students struggle with that, because often, 'impossible' is just something they've never seen before. So we really need to flesh that out a bit more for them. In Stage 2, there's some new terminologies like 'trials', like a set of trials, and also that idea of 'equally likely', so making sure they understand how that relates to fractions as well, which we'll get to a little bit later in the session today. And into Stage 3, we've really upped that ante with the language they're using about Chance and about 'likelihood' and 'probability'. And then we have sort of this new terminology around 'expected' and 'observed' probability, 'expected outcomes' and 'frequency' and being able to observe the frequencies of how they're happening within your Chance experiments. So there's a lot of language to take in within the new syllabus and also just in our current syllabus around statistics and probability.

So here's some of those important and critical skills we want our students to develop. So it's about calculating the probabilities, representing outcomes, analysing what they've found, exploring different methods of collecting the data, questioning, recognising misleading data, which is a really important skill, right into real-world context for our students. Making reasoned judgements when they compare data is also really important. So...all of these concepts and skills, they're based...and it depends upon students having a sound knowledge, understanding and use of the terminology. So we talked about those language focuses there for both data and Chance. And so students being able to have a good understanding of what those things really are is important to be able to be successful in using and applying these skills.