This is an example of a micro-learning activity undertaken by students enrolled on my Environmental Issues course. The activity has a single objective to investigate the most common age of death in England and Wales since the 1960s.

When discussing births and deaths and population changes, much attention is usually given to statistical indicators such as birth rates, death rates and infant mortality.

Another statistic that has recently attracted attention is the modal age of death in a given year. This is the age at which most people died in a given year. This statistic might also be referred to as “Peak Death” age.

Students are invited to open and view the following Excel spreadsheet.

The spreadsheet includes two tables (table 1: males and table 2: females) which present data on the total number of people who died at a given age in England and Wales for each year 1963 to 2017. Infant mortality is classed as the death of children under the age of one year, so in these tables figures for death at age 0 represent infant mortality.

Row 115 includes the mode or peak death age for each year.

For both males and females, comment on the trend in peak death age since 1963. What factors might lead to increasing “peak death” age?

What is the trend in infant mortality? When was age 0, the peak age of death? What factors have affected changes in infant mortality?