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


Watson, J and Fitzallen, N and English, L and Wright, S, Introducing statistical variation in year 3 in a STEM context: manufacturing Licorice, International Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology, 51, (3) pp. 354-387 . ISSN 0020-739X (2019) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright Statement

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:

DOI: doi:10.1080/0020739X.2018.1562117


As STEM education becomes more prominent at the school level, many possibilities could be suggested for beginning experiences to create a foundation for young students as they begin their journeys with respect to STEM learning. The research reported here is based on the premise that building statistical understanding will enhance young studentsí learning as they engage with STEM learning experiences. This paper hence reports on an activity created to introduce students in Year 3 to the concept of statistical variation with data in a STEM-related context where variation occurs in an easily measured and realistic fashion. Studentsí capabilities to appreciate the fundamental nature of statistical variation and use it for comparison in a STEM context were assessed through responses in student workbooks, to questions on an end-of-year survey, and in individual interviews. The results illustrate the beginning stages of student thinking about variation and the use of data when learning is embedded within a STEM context. They show that students can take on the idea of variation and use it in explaining their experiences with the hands-on activity, which involved comparisons of a hand-made and machine-made product

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:STEM, statistics education, primary, modelling with data
Research Division:Education
Research Group:Curriculum and pedagogy
Research Field:Mathematics and numeracy curriculum and pedagogy
Objective Division:Education and Training
Objective Group:Learner and learning
Objective Field:Learner and learning not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Watson, J (Professor Jane Watson)
UTAS Author:Fitzallen, N (Dr Noleine Fitzallen)
UTAS Author:Wright, S (Mrs Suzie Wright)
ID Code:129992
Year Published:2019
Funding Support:Australian Research Council (DP150100120)
Web of Science® Times Cited:6
Deposited By:Education
Deposited On:2019-01-03
Last Modified:2021-11-02
Downloads:42 View Download Statistics

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