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Inspector Morse

You may like to read the article on Morse code before attempting this question. Morse's letter analysis was done over 150 years ago, so might there be a better allocation of symbols today?

Florence Nightingale - the Compassionate Mathematician

Florence Nightingale may be well known for her role as a nurse, but she was also an excellent mathematician, collecting and analysing data to help improve hospital conditions.

Real Statistics

Have a look at this table of how children travel to school. How does it compare with children in your class?

Bird Watch

Age 7 to 14
Challenge Level


birdEach year, the RSPB does a Big Garden Birdwatch, and in 2012, this was held over the weekend of 28/29 January in the UK. 592,475 people counted 9,203,727 birds!

The house sparrow was observed most frequently, followed by the starling and the blue tit.

What birds are most frequent visitors where you live? Why not organise a birdwatch at your school over, say, a week this term.  You don't have to live in the country - birds are everywhere once you start looking for them.

You will need to decide:

  • how are you going to record your observations?
  • how much detail do you want to record?
  • when you have your data, how are you going to display it, how are you going to analyse it?

You can then compare your data with the data from the Big Garden Birdwatch for your county if you are in the UK, or for your country if not. What difference does it make, counting birds in January and in April, May or June? Why do you think there are those differences? You could also find out which birds are threatened and why that is happening.

If you've never watched birds before, the RSPB website has a guide, which includes all kinds of information about birds, and how to identify birds.

IMPORTANT NOTE: in spring, birds lay their eggs, then sit on them until they hatch. They bring food to newly hatched chicks until they are able to fly from the nest and find their own food. It is VERY IMPORTANT that you do not go near a nest, in case there are eggs or young birds there - the parents could desert the eggs or chicks if they are disturbed. Find out more at The birdwatchers' code.