December 15, 2018

Students Do Statistics

Students Do Statistics DATE: 01-14-2015

January 13, 2015- Nancy Kent’s Statistics class is serious about real-world problems expressed and quantified through data sets. After two months learning the big picture of Statistics, from understanding survey design to conducting complex analyses of qualitative versus quantitative data sets, students were asked to apply their knowledge for a major summative assessment.

They turned their shiny-stats-toolboxes to their schoolmates, asking questions and proposing hypotheses to guide their research. Sample Focus Questions (and the final presentation links!) are as follows:

“What number of schools (colleges) are you applying to?”

“How many hours a week do you work?”

“How many times have you been out of the United States?”

Given their Focus Questions, students composed surveys to get at the heart of these questions, learning about bias and sampling along the way. After gathering all of their data, students collated the results into Raw Data Charts; they then used the charts to analyze their results and  generate a multitude of data displays to share their findings, including but not limited to: Histogram, Stem-and-Leaf, Circle Graph/Pie Chart, Box Plot and Chebyshev Graph. They went farther with the data and found measures of center (mean, median, mode and range), assessed the distribution and standard deviation. Finally, they put all of their findings into a Google Presentation and shared their work with their peers in oral presentations (Whew!).

I had the opportunity to attend the final session of presentations and was impressed by the amount of work that each of these teams conducted over the course of the term. My favorite part has to be the reflections that students have when asked to consider, “What surprised you?” and “What would you do differently next time?” As a teacher, I love this part because this is when we get to witness what the students actually learned in their journey through the exercise. In this case, each of these budding statisticians noted how they could improve the results the next time around: that’s truly the best result that any educator could hope to achieve.

-Alexis Nelson