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)





User Notes :

This WebQuest 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 your results.

















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 disaster.


















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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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?
  3. Using the databases as a source, construct a spreadsheet with appropriate graphs to illustrate each of the following statements about the Titanic tragedy:
    • More men survived than women.
    • The rule "women and children first" was followed in loading the lifeboats.

    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!)

  4. 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.
  5. 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.



















The list that follows gives you some resources to consider in completing this WebQuest. You may use any of these, but you will need to use other resources as well - the library for example, or what about the film?.

I. Background Information:

II. Database

III. Additional Resources















Your final project grade will be based on the following components:
  1. Your constructive use of class time to accomplish the assigned tasks (individual grade).
  2. Your spreadsheets, graphs, and your explanation of the two given statistical statements (pair grade).
  3. Your presentation of the historical notes and your chosen topic.
  4. 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 worthwhile. 









User Notes