Hands-on statistics

These hands-on activities are for use by our members at careers fairs, at festivals and in schools. They consist of short, practical activities for face-to-face interactions.

Eight activities have been developed to date by members of the RSS Education and Statistical Literacy Committee, following a call-out for ideas. Each has been tested and used at events such as school careers fairs and public events at festivals.

Each activity has a short instruction sheet and a video demonstrating the activity in use.

Capture Recapture

This activity illustrates how to estimate the size of a population. It explores a core idea of statistical inference and is very interactive.

Download the PDF activity description.

How many penguins?

This activity introduces people to the concepts of populations and samples. Using information obtained from a sample of “local” penguins, we infer how many penguins live in a colony in Antarctica.

Download the PDF activity description and the aerial photo.

Radiotherapy

This activity introduces the idea of a simulation study to investigate the impact of different doses of radiation when targeting tumour cells.  It is highly interactive and requires minimal resources.

Download the PDF activity description, the game board, the results table and the charts.

Sociable cards

This activity uses a “magic trick” to demonstrate that statistical thinking can help to identify patterns in situations which may otherwise be considered unpredictable. It is highly interactive and requires minimal resources.

Download the PDF activity description.

Biased sampling

This activity introduces people to the concept of sampling – the process of collecting observations to analyse – and when it can give the ‘wrong’ answer

Download the PDF activity description.

Read the Teaching Statistics journal article (open access) with further information and potential extension activities.

How random are you?

This activity introduces people to the concept of randomness. People often believe they can be random. However, activities like this demonstrate a failure for many people to be random.

Download the PDF activity description .

This activity can be run in two ways: low-tech (with pen and paper) and high-tech (with a computer app). The computer app is available for free on Github .

How to always win

Probability and chance are vital concepts not just within statistics, but in real life. This activity will investigate what we mean by bias, how we can identify whether something such as a die is biased, and how we can use it to our advantage!

Download the PDF activity description .

Read the Teaching Statistics journal article (open access) with further information and potential extension activities.

Stick or switch?

This activity introduces people to the concept of conditional probability via the Monty Hall problem - a brain teaser, loosely based on the American television game show Let’s Make a Deal and named after its original host, Monty Hall.

Download the PDF activity description and PDF worksheet .


Stay in touch

The Hands on statistics team are currently working on a third set of four activities.

To be kept informed of updates to this work, and to let us know if you use these resources contact education@rss.org.uk