Bitesize data science for kids

In 2020 and 2021, when schools were delivering their lessons on-line and parents were home-schooling it was a very difficult time for many. So, during National Apprenticeship Week 2021, we wanted to help ONS staff by giving them some time back while we taught their children some data science.

Our four apprentices developed and delivered a range of bitesize data science workshops for those aged 5 to 18 years. We were oversubscribed for the live workshops and received overwhelmingly good feedback.

Picturing Numbers: What can your computer do? – Age 5 to 7

In this 10-minute bite-sized data session, we will learn how to make pictures out of numbers and find out how we can use our computers to play with data.

Participants will create a bar chart brought to life by using their pets as data and will play a game of Pictionary with a computer. Resources will be provided so that participants can keep playing after the session is over.

Does your school use data science: What is data science and how is it used in everyday life?  – Age 8 to 11

This bitesize session is an ideal introduction to statistics and data science and how it is being used in the real world.

It will cover what data is and why is it so important, how a shopping basket can tell us about the changes in the price of things in shops and how the popularity of baby names can suggest what people are watching on the TV.

Probably predicting the future – age 12 to 14

Data scientists make predictions about the future and understanding how to interpret those predictions is vital for everybody.

In this 15-minute bite-sized introduction to probability, we jump down a rabbit hole of probable and improbable situations in order to answer questions such as “How likely is it that someone will win the lottery twice?”, and the age-old question, “If I pull socks out of my drawer at random, how often will I wear a matching pair?”.

Demystifying AI: Can you beat a piece of paper at a game of noughts and crosses? – age 15 to 16

This session is an engaging, interactive whistle-stop tour of artificial intelligence, machine learning and how it is integrated in the world around us.

Covering robots from the 1700s to complex neural networks in video games, come along to find out more about how an artificial intelligence has been used and where might it go in the future. And of course, take the challenge of trying to beat a piece of paper in a game of noughts and crosses!

If you or your children benefit from these sessions, please share them with your schools, or other organisations that are helping to train and encourage young people through STEM subjects.