Maths GCSE: Using patterns in Google searches to predict flu outbreaks

Marcus du Sautoy calculates the mean and standard deviation of a catch of fish, and explores how many things in nature follow the normal distribution.

Using the properties of this normal curve (numbers of standard deviations away from the mean), he predicts what the largest fish a fisherman has ever caught will be.

This clip is from the series The Code,

Teacher Notes

Use as a practical example when looking at standard deviation and measures of location / measures of spread.

Would also work well as part of the Statistics GCSE course too.

For those who won’t be doing the actual calculation, students can still explore how the chance of getting a certain measurement changes with the number of standard deviations away from the mean.

Students can collect continuous data of their own – for example, heights of students in a particular year – and see if it fits this model.

Curriculum Notes

These clips will be relevant for teaching Maths at KS4 and GCSE in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and National 4/5 or Higher in Scotland.

The topics discussed will support OCR, Edexcel, AQA, WJEC in England and Wales, CCEA in Northern Ireland and SQA in Scotland.