The General Teaching Council for Scotland

Lights, camera...data

What makes a blockbuster movie? Is it the A-list celebrities, spectacular action scenes or killer storyline? Or perhaps it is something much more subtle.

 
A group of pupils show their STATWARS creations“The likes of the BBC, Netflix and Amazon Prime use extensive data analysis to create many of their most popular TV series and films,” explains Dr Susan Scurlock MBE, founder of Primary Engineer. Cue STATWARS®, a new competition created by Primary Engineer and designed to encourage a generation of young people to engage with data by designing a film or TV series based on data.

The competition’s structure encourages pupils to apply mathematics not just creatively, but logically, to collect, analyse and present data, whilst drawing on their own personal experiences of what makes great entertainment.

The competition requires teams of pupils to produce two posters, one advertising the film or TV series, clearly designed to appeal to its demographic audience, and the other to communicate through infographics, the data used to influence the decisions made. Teams also produce a 60-second film to ‘elevator pitch’ their idea to the judging panel.

“The competition provides an entry point for young people to become excited about analysing, interrogating and presenting data. It also helps them develop the skills to use data securely in an inspiring subject area that touches everyone’s life,” says Susan. It does this by delivering meaningful and engaging mathematics, numeracy and data literacy to pupils, by bringing the enchantment of the entertainment industry to their doorstep.

Two pupils stand in front of STATWARS bannersData and digital skills key for young people

Speaking at the launch of the competition, Ivan McKee MSP, Minister for Trade, Investment and Innovation, said: “The Scottish Government’s STEM Strategy highlights the importance of young people being confident in data and digital skills for work and life in the modern world.

“We want to encourage school pupils to get involved in data and digital at an early age – opportunities like this are fantastic in helping to make this happen.”

STATWARS® provides free teaching resources including lesson plans, activity sheets and video tutorials that help unlock the value of data.

Interested schools are encouraged to sign up, log on and register their interest via statwarscompetition.com

GTC Scotland talks STEM at Holyrood

GTC Scotland’s Ken Muir and Charlaine Simpson were invited to speak at the Scottish Parliament’s Education and Skills Committee at the start of October to answer questions on the role of GTC Scotland in supporting the STEM agenda. One of the examples Ken and Charlaine discuss is GTC Scotland’s work with Primary Engineer. Their appearance can be viewed on Scottish Parliament TV and highlights the influential role GTC Scotland plays in education policy. You may have read the media coverage, some of which misleadingly reported that primary teachers didn’t need STEM qualifications. These stories have been corrected to underline that primary teachers should not be required to have additional STEM skills, beyond the Maths National 5 qualification.