Case Study – Primary – Broadclyst, Exeter

Twenty Year 6 (10-11 year old) students investigated if weather (such as Hourly Temperature, Hourly Mean Wind Direction, Hourly Relative Humidity, Hourly Global Radiation etc.) might be related to students’ attendances, health and injuries in schools. Key skills are interpretation of graphical data, interpretation of averages and drawing conclusions from data. The project took up approximately 9 hours of class time over three weeks.

Data set link to be provided for Primary

Data sets were provided by the Met office as well as the school.

Data set — Dunkeswell Aerodrome Daily 1_9_2018-29_5_2019

The students have studied basic statistical concepts, such as appropriate graphical representation involving discrete, continuous and grouped data; and appropriate measures of central tendency (mean, mode, median) based on the UK national curriculum. Leant from the first pilot study, the following aspects were particularly considered in this pilot:

  • Exploratory talk around graphical data is key
  • Pupils need to be extended by dealing with bigger data sets
  • Digital tools must be carefully selected (Excel was quite time consuming)

The students were confident to use ICT tools but they have not used CODAP before, so there was a quick introduction how to use the tool. Although they had not created lines of best fit lines before and were relatively inexperienced with scatter graphs, the students quickly began to use CODAP intuitively to make their inferences. The class teacher noted that CODAP supported pupils progress in using more advanced graphical techniques very effectively, accelerating their progress.

Their findings were, for example:

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  • Most weather variables bear very weak correlations to attendance.

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  • UV radiation seems to correlate with higher attendance. The students investigated further with a Met Office ambassador concluding that there could be a possible link to Seasonal Affective Disorder.

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  • Weather data around windspeed correlates closely to the number of slips, trips and falls in the playground. This proved a theory that teachers in the school had believed for many years and had given them to test.
  • Absence, regardless of weather, increases across a week.

At the end of their project, the students collectively produced a video in which they summarised their findings.

A post attitude survey suggests that the students have more positive attitudes towards learning statistical concepts, and less stressed during the learning, but their confidence using ICT tools were slightly decreased. This is interesting as ICT tools are heavily embedded in their daily lessons, and they are in general very confident to use ICT tools, but perhaps the new tool (CODAP) made them realise that some digital tools take a little time to learn, which is not a bad thing to realise!

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