What Can Numbers Tell Us About Her Fatal Voyage?
Upper Middle/Lower Secondary Mathematics
Links to the QCA ICT Key Stage 2 Unit 5B
(Analysing data and answering questions using complex searches)
Site developed by Todd Atkins and Barbara McManus in May, 1998
Adapted for inclusion on the WebQuestUK site by Dave Kibblewhite
with the kind permission of Barbara McManus.
(Last checked on 15th July 2004)
is designed for students with some familiarity with the use
of spreadsheets for creating tables and graphs, and the use
of databases for gathering and processing information. If
this is not the case with your students, some time will
be needed to demonstrate the application of these tools prior
to assigning the WebQuest project.
- One of today's hottest topics
is the discussion of "The Titanic" - the movie -
and its stars. But what do you know about the REAL Titanic?
its passengers? its crew? This webquest will help you and a
partner to explore these topics and look at them from a mathematical
perspective. In the process, you will find not only interesting
facts and dramatic stories, but also numerous statistics related
to the event. The statistics tell stories of their own. It
will be your job to discover some of these stories and share
- First you need to learn
about the circumstances of the Titanic disaster. Then
you and your partner can use the information available to explore "Titanic" databases,
and create a spreadsheet. You can then use appropriate
graphics to illustrate what the statistics reveal about the
- You will be working with
a partner to complete this project. Your teacher will
advise you how much class time will be available, and whether
you will be expected to complete it for homework.
- The following list suggests
steps you and your partner can take to complete the project.
- Study some of the background
information on the Titanic, its voyage, its passengers, and
its crew. This will help to give life to the statistical
research you will do in the project.
- Explore a database of
information on the passengers and crew of the Titanic. The
suggested site actually has two databases, one for the passengers
and one for the crew. Use the "Instructions for
searching" link on each page to view the explanation
of fields on each database. Pose questions to see what
you can find here:- (eg) Did any survivors share the
same last name as you or your partner? How many children
were on board? What per cent of crew members survived?
What nationalities were represented on the ship?
- Using the databases as
a source, construct a spreadsheet with appropriate graphs
to illustrate each of the following statements about the
- More men survived
- The rule "women
and children first" was followed in loading the
On your spreadsheet,
include an explanation of how the statistics can support
these seemingly opposite statements. Give in a
copy of this completed spreadsheet to your teacher. (Make
sure your name and your partner's name are on the sheet!)
- Using the databases as
a source, construct one or more spreadsheets with appropriate
graph(s) to illustrate a topic that you and your partner
think is particularly important. For example, you could
focus on the percentage of survivors by class and/or gender
and/or age ranges and/or nationalities. You could
also focus on the statistics for a specific group of people
(women, children, or crew). These are simply examples; be
creative and decide on a topic of your choice.
- Prepare a computer generated
slide show presentation (PowerPoint or a similar program
would be fine) for the class on the results of your WebQuest. Include
some historical facts that you and your partner found interesting
about the ship, voyage, passengers, and/or crew. Then
move on to the research topic you chose as being particularly
important. Give reasons why you chose that topic, and
used those particular data tables, charts or graphs. Also
include your explanations, conclusions and comments. Save
a copy of your (PowerPoint or other) presentation with
a list of the references you used in completing the
WebQuest. Write a sentence or two describing how each
of the references helped you complete the WebQuest.
- Your final project grade
will be based on the following components:
- Your constructive use
of class time to accomplish the assigned tasks (individual
- Your spreadsheets, graphs,
and your explanation of the two given statistical statements
- Your presentation of the
historical notes and your chosen topic.
- Your PowerPoint (or similar)
presentation and the quality of your references. (individual
and pair grades).
Click here to
view the grading rubric for your project.
- Through this activity you
have seen history and mathematics linked by means of a database.
Alone, the statistics themselves are simply numbers; it is
the heartwarming stories of the people involved in the event
that give life to the data and make its study interesting and