Classroom Workshops

The workshops below have been prepared and used by PSI to provide practical examples of applying statistics to medical research. They can all be run in a classroom and are targeted at KS3 students and above (but could be adapted for younger students). They illustrate key statistical issues that need to be considered in the development of new medicines.
Workshop 1

A summary of each activity is given below. Full instructions plus worksheets and other paper materials can be downloaded by clicking on the icon.

KS3 Workshops



Smarties workshop

Objectives: Pupils will learn how to collect and collate their own data and will explore statistical and practical considerations which arise in designing experiments.

Run time: 30 min (30 min prep)

Additional equipment required:

  • Smarties
  • Calculators
  • A black/white board or flip chart for collating results

KS4 Workshops



Alzheimer's Disease workshop

Objectives: To give an interactive example of how statistics can be used to test relationships between categorical variables and introduce the placebo effect and the importance of blinding a trial (concealing treatment allocation).

Run time: 45 min (20 min prep)

Additional equipment required:

  • Two music videos (to act as a distraction)
  • Stickers or sweets (half red, half blue) to act as treatment assignment
  • Ear plugs (optional)
  • A laptop and projector for slides and to show calculations in Excel

Asthma workshop

Objectives: To introduce the students to analysis of continuous data and make them think about concealing treatment assignment and consider false positive and false negative results.

Run time: 45 min (10 min prep)

Additional equipment required:

  • Online t-test tool Click here
  • Peak flow meters or balloons and measuring tape
  • Dice or coin
  • A laptop and projector for slides

NICE workshop

Objectives: To introduce the students to National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) and make them think about the decisions that go into putting new drugs on the market. Groups need to decide which drug out of three they would choose to make available for use in the UK.

Run time: 45 min (10 min prep)

Additional equipment required:

  • A laptop and projector for slides

Helicopter workshop

Objectives: To introduce fractional factorial design and give the opportunity to collect data, explore statistical considerations in experimental design and, in the extended version, compare various graphical summaries and interpretations of the data.

Run time: 45 min (40 min prep)

Additional equipment required:

  • Paperclips (2 per group)
  • Stopwatch (1 per group)
  • Scissors (2 per group)
  • Labelled envelopes to hold pack 1 and 2 materials separately.

KS4+ Workshops



Headaches workshop

Objectives: To introduce the concept of ‘Regression to the Mean’ along with some good principles of clinical trial design such as the use of controls and avoidance of bias. Advanced students can cover analysing results using a Chi Square test.

Run time: 45 min (15 min prep)

Additional equipment required:

  • Dice and coins
  • A black/white board or flip chart for collating results.

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  • PSI Toxicology SIG Workshop 2019 - Dates: 02 – 03 Apr, 2019

    This 1.5-day workshop will involve approximately 20 statisticians, focusing on discussions around “best practice” in the statistical analysis of various data types.​
  • PSI Journal Club: Missing Data - Dates: 24 – 24 Jan, 2019

    Our next journal club, held jointly with the DIA, features two papers on the topic of Statistical Considerations for Innovative Designs in Clinical Trials. Please join us to hear Jason Yuan and Xiangmin Zhang present their recent work.
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