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Statistics Workshop for Math and Science Teachers Goes International

13 May 2010 2,743 views One Comment
Katherine Halvorsen, MWM Program Chair, and Rebecca Nichols, ASA K-16 Education Manager

Members of the K-12 mathematics and science community participate in the Meeting Within a Meeting workshop during the 2009 Joint Statistical Meetings in Washington, DC.

The ASA is accepting registrations for its fourth annual statistics workshop for mathematics and science teachers. Titled “Meeting Within a Meeting” (MWM), the program was developed to help teachers, many of whom have little or no formal statistics training, meet current mathematics and science standards for teaching statistics. The conference will be held August 4–5 with the 2010 Joint Statistical Meetings in Vancouver, Canada, with a satellite workshop in conjunction with ICOTS in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

“One of the primary missions of the ASA is to work for the improvement of statistical education at all levels,” said Ron Wasserstein, executive director. “We are pleased to reach out to the K–12 mathematics and science community through the MWM workshop and follow-up activities. It is fitting to hold this workshop for math and science teachers in conjunction with the Joint Statistical Meetings, the largest annual gathering of statisticians, where thousands from around the world meet to share advances in statistical knowledge.

“MWM will not only enhance understanding and teaching of statistics concepts in the classroom, but also provide participants with a network of statisticians and educators to assist in developing the quantitative literacy of their students,” he added.

The first MWM workshop, held in Salt Lake City, in 2007, focused on middle-school math and science teachers. The success of MWM 2007 led Martha Aliaga, ASA director of education, to recommend expanding the Denver MWM workshop in 2008 to a two-day format to include separate strands for K–4, 5–8, and 9–12 teachers. MWM 2009 in Washington, DC, included parallel strands for K–4, 5–8, and 9–12 teachers on the first day with a field trip to the U.S. Census Bureau on the second day. Local DC Metro area teachers, along with teachers from around the United States, attended interactive sessions with prominent statistics educators. The Census Bureau visit included interactive presentations and activities organized by Renée Jefferson-Copeland, chief of the Census in Schools Branch of the U.S. Census Bureau. The 2009 workshop participants are participating in MWM follow-up activities, including webinars archived here.

The MWM 2010 workshop will include workshop sessions on Wednesday, August 4, for U.S. and Canadian middle- and high-school mathematics and science teachers, with JSM statistics education sessions on Thursday, August 5, and follow-up activities throughout the 2010–2011 school year.


The International Conference on Teaching Statistics (ICOTS) will be held in Ljubljana, Slovenia, July 11–16. Meeting Within a Meeting workshop presenters will be in Slovenia for ICOTS and have kindly agreed to present a condensed MWM statistics workshop for local Slovenian middle school teachers. MWM Program Chair Katherine Halvorsen is arranging the program, and ASA Director of Education Martha Aliaga is working with her colleague in Slovenia on local workshop logistics. We are excited that the MWM statistics workshop for mathematics and science teachers will go international to both Slovenia and Canada this year to enhance statistics education among Slovenian, Canadian, and U.S. teachers. For more on Slovenia see page 35 in this issue.

The primary goal of the 2010 MWM program is to provide an opportunity for U.S. and Canadian mathematics and science teachers to discuss and apply the statistical concepts and data analysis tools described in the Guidelines for Assessment and Instruction in Statistics Education (GAISE) Report: A Pre-K–12 Curriculum Framework and the Western and Northern Canadian Protocol (WNCP) Curriculum. The ASA’s MWM program is designed to enhance educators’ understanding of statistics and provide them with hands-on activities they can use in their own classrooms to strengthen the teaching of statistics in their schools. Content is consistent with the Common Core standards and National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) standards.

“Teachers will explore problems that require them to formulate questions; collect, organize, analyze, and draw conclusions from data; and apply the basic concepts of probability. The MWM program will include examining what students can be expected to do at the most basic level of understanding and what can be expected of them as their skill level develops and their experience broadens,” said Katherine Halvorsen, chair of the MWM Program Committee. The workshops give teachers the opportunity to discuss and apply the statistical concepts embodied in their state/province mathematics and science standards in the context of the instructional recommendations of GAISE. We are fortunate to have GAISE Pre-K–12 Report authors and prominent statistics educators presenting the MWM workshop sessions. We appreciate their excellent work in statistics education and service to the profession.

The registration fee is $35, which includes materials and refreshments. U.S. attendees from outside the Vancouver area may receive a set reimbursement for lodging expenses for a two-night stay. Teachers will also receive a complimentary one-day pass to attend statistics education sessions at JSM on Thursday, such as the session “Initiatives to Create Guidelines for Statistics Education to Prepare Future Generations to Function Effectively in a Data-Centric World: A Progress Report,” which was organized by the ASA/NCTM Joint Committee on Curriculum in Statistics and Probability.

Do you know any mathematics or science teachers who might be interested in enhancing their understanding and teaching of statistics? If so, encourage them to attend Meeting Within a Meeting this August in Vancouver. More information, including the program and online registration, is available here. Teachers wishing to attend the conference can register online by clicking on the MWM Registration tab at the top of the screen. Registration will continue until the course is filled. Space is limited, so interested teachers are recommended to register as soon as possible.

For questions regarding the MWM workshop, please contact Rebecca Nichols, K–16 education manager, at rebecca@amstat.org, or call (703) 684-1221, ext. 1877.

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