Scientific Program > Topic 7 > Session 7G >
Presentation 7G1. Using Excel to Teach Statistics in New Zealand Secondary Schools

Owen Giles (New Zealand)
Siva Ganesh (New Zealand)


Presentation Abstract
Computers have opened up novel approaches to teaching the concepts of statistics, at all levels. This talk presents a software package that is designed to augment the teaching of Year 13 Mathematics with Statistics curriculum in New Zealand Secondary Schools.

It is essential that any modern statistics course incorporates the use of spreadsheets and the like, and this software package provides the ideal tool for teachers who may not have used spreadsheets in the past. Moreover, many topics in the Secondary School curriculum are ideally suited to spreadsheet work, allowing students to explore simulated data and discover the basic principles themselves. Microsoft Excel has been utilized for the worked examples; however, the ideas are universal and not limited to one brand of such software.

The package discussed in this talk incorporates scaffolded learning principles. A number of examples are given that show students how to solve a problem and encourages them to experiment. Practice problems are then provided with worked solutions. When students feel ready to work independently they can attempt the self-assessment modules. This also indicates whether they have reached a reasonable level of competency. The package provides a number of functions; it can be incorporated into the lesson or used as a revision aid for the self-paced learner. In addition, to cater for the wide range of ability levels in mathematics/statistics classrooms, a range of problems have been provided including extension problems.


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