“How many times will I use this quadratic equation, except to learn it for exams?” is a popular dialogue among students when they study math, isn’t it? Every student’s way of learning is different and the way many of them look at math, especially statistics, doesn’t really captivate their interests other than classroom problems and tests. But it has been observed that statistics become much less boring or daunting once children become comfortable with the concepts that associate them with their favorite subject.
For example, if a child is more interested in biology, it is important to help them understand statistical problems, such as studying the effectiveness of a drug using 100 patients as a data set. Helping students see how widely metrics are used in their lives after school and college will make all the difference in changing their perception of them.
Statistics is the collection, analysis and interpretation of data and the formulation of conclusions based on those findings. Many things that we experience in everyday life branch out as career flows in different areas. Let’s increase children’s appreciation of statistics by looking at some of its uses in various fields:
predictions: Many people are in the habit of checking weather forecasts or checking the weather updates on the phones. So where does this information and forecast about the weather come from? It is because of computer models based on statistical concepts that compare and calculate the forecast. Medical researchers use statistics to predict the prevalence and spread of disease. Engineers use statistics to predict the timeline of a project.
Biometrics use statistics to look for patterns to predict the probability of an event in the environment, leading on-site workers, such as fabricators, to increase their quality control in field projects. Every sports team has statisticians who analyze data collected from past matches and use it to devise team strategies and game plans and predict winning outcomes.
Testing and sampling: A free sample of chocolate at a supermarket or analyzing a drug before it is available for consumption. This is the process of testing using statistics to calculate the effectiveness and success rate of a particular aspect. Testing is used in clinical trials, making a software design available to few consumers for feedback, bringing a new product to market, and psychological research to study the human brain. Census and sampling are one of the most important concepts used by governments, such as collecting data from citizens and understanding population characteristics.
Business decision making: You eat at 9am, you go to bed at 10am and you need 8 hours of sleep. Using this data to set your alarm for 6 a.m. is decision making. This is a small example for a bigger inference – using statistical data to make business decisions.
Traders use statistics based on market data to make decisions in uncertain situations, business leaders make decisions regarding strategies and company policies, manufacturers produce goods based on customer requirements. Government agencies also use statistics to make decisions, such as using the collected data to formulate plans about health, education, import and export rates and budgets.
Finance and Accounting: The most prominent use of statistics is in finance, banking and accounting. Where accountants create reports, balance accounts, where bankers lend, calculate interest, cover insurance and more.
Information Technology: Careers such as data scientists and data analysts require a hands-on understanding of statistics. Data scientists must learn how to mine data using a combination of statistical equations. These equations are used to find the patterns and trends in the data sets. These patterns help map real world problems and create solutions. This requires a strong knowledge of statistical reasoning such as descriptive statistics, probability theory, distributions, sampling and Bayesian analysis to name a few.
Children learn statistics without learning it in everyday activities such as playing cards or tossing a coin. They may not realize the foundation it lays in the initial stages, but will find stats hidden in many career streams they pursue. The important thing is to learn its concepts, importance and applications. Taking advantage of such opportunities, educators and parents can help students on their way to a successful future through effective methods of teaching them about statistics.
— Written by Anand Prakash, Co-Founder and Head of Academics, Vedantu
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