Motivating maths delivered in Halewood through the statistics of health

Published on: Thursday, 01-May-2014

Pupils at Halewood Academy have taken part in an exciting initiative studying real life data from Knowsley’s Public Health team with 74% of the pupils saying it helped their learning of maths.

Using a web site called ‘Plastered’ teachers at the school asked pupils to analyse important risks, which affect the lives of ordinary people in Knowsley.

Mathew Ashton, Knowsley Council’s Director of Public Health said, “We are very keen to develop our partnerships with schools in order to encourage young people to think more carefully about their health.  Through this project, young people were asked to analyse the risks associated with alcohol abuse, which as well as developing their analytical skills, it also helps to promote alcohol awareness messages too.  Due to its success, we hope to support the project in other schools across the borough.”

‘Plastered’ is an innovative resource that uses real-life data, which has been anonymised, to teach various statistical analysis techniques in maths lessons. The website is designed to be used at either Key Stage 3 or 4 and also supports the PSHE curriculum which provides opportunities to discuss the social and personal consequences of alcohol misuse.

“Most pupils understood the dangers to health of tobacco and illegal drugs but were less aware of the physical and social damage associated with alcohol misuse, including personal safety.” Ofsted PSHE Report May 2013 

Principal Gary Evans said, "We are delighted to work with Ariel Trust, using 'Plastered' to raise the awareness of alcohol related issues with our students. We consider this an important way in which we can support our students and to also develop their maths skills."

‘Plastered’ was developed by Ariel Trust using an approach that had proved successful in English lessons.  Evaluation evidence showed that young people were clearly motivated to learn by content that reflected real-life issues and scenarios that were based on the experiences of their peer group.  The ‘Plastered’ website was developed to test the theory that the same approach would motivate young people in their maths lessons and lead to improved academic performance.

Mr. Close, Maths Teacher at Halewood Academy said that, “Pupils found the resources interesting and it sparked a lot of discussion, which students were keen to take part in. They engaged with, and enjoyed the lessons and I believe ‘Plastered’ will improve maths attainment.” 

Ariel Trust is very keen to work with maths teachers who want to help evaluate and develop this approach to the teaching of maths. If you want to find out more contact trish@arieltrust.com.