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Three Lesson Plans Win STEW Competition

1 July 2014 214 views One Comment
Rebecca Nichols, ASA Director of Education, and Mary Richardson, STEW Editor

    One of the goals of the American Statistical Association is to improve statistics education at all levels. Through the STatistics Education Web (STEW) and its lesson plan competition, the ASA reaches out to K–12 mathematics and science teachers who teach statistics concepts in their classrooms. The following lesson plans were chosen as winners in this year’s competition:

    Bubble Trouble!

    Peter Banwarth of Oregon State University
    Statistical Topics: comparing distributions, descriptive statistics, comparative boxplots
    GAISE Level B

    In this lesson, students determine if the size of a bubble blown in water is affected by different additions to the water. Students will design an activity to explore this. They will use numeric summaries including the mean and five-number summary, comparative boxplots, and dotplots to summarize the data they collect. Students will draw conclusions about the effect of additions to water on bubble size based on these numerical and visual representations of the data.

    How Random Is the iPod’s Shuffle?

    Joan Garfield and Laura Ziegler of the University of Minnesota
    Statistical Topics: randomly generated data, probability
    GAISE Level A

    This activity begins with a claim that songs are not randomly generated using the iPod shuffle function. Students are given three samples of data: a set of 25 randomly generated playlists for students to use as a basis to describe characteristics of a random sample. After students come up with their ideas about what characteristics to look for, they are given a set of five additional playlists (also randomly generated) on which to test their rules. Once they feel confident their rules can be used to determine if a set of songs have not been randomly generated, they are then given three disputed playlists, which students are asked to judge based on their rules. Students work in groups to examine the data, come up with rules, and write a report about their finding and whether they believe the three disputed playlists were not randomly generated.

    Now You See It, Now You Don’t: Using SeeIt to Compare Stacked Dotplots to Boxplots

    Alberto Guzman-Alvarez, Amy Falk Smith, Marco Molinaro, and Rafael Diaz of the University of California Davis, iAMSTEM Hub and California State University Sacramento
    Statistical Topics: dotplot, boxplot, comparing distributions
    GAISE Level B

    In the first part of the lesson , students will collect a data set by measuring the height of their right-hand reach. Then, they will learn how to enter the data online into the freely available statistical software SeeIt to visualize their data using a stacked dotplot (all SeeIt visualizations used in this lesson also are available in Fathom). In the second part of the lesson, students will use SeeIt to organize the individual dots on the stacked dotplot of their right-hand reach in a way that leads to the creation of a boxplot. This part of the lesson shows students how to recognize a boxplot from a stacked dotplot, and vice versa. The lesson concludes by showing students that even though the individual elements of a data set cannot be seen in a boxplot, this popular type of graph provides, in many instances, several advantages over stacked dotplots.

    The winning lessons and other free peer-reviewed K–12 statistics lesson plans are available on the STEW website. Also on the website is a template for submitting your own favorite lesson plans, which can be sent to steweditor@amstat.org.

    For more information about getting involved with K–12 statistics education outreach activities, contact Rebecca Nichols at rebecca@amstat.org.

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