Thursday, June 18, 2015

Rethinking Statistics

So, school's been out for a couple of weeks now, giving me the opportunity to prepare for next year. (I have to give my brain something productive to do or else it ties itself up in knots). This will be my third year teaching tenth grade math, and I have been giving some thought to how I want to do it this year. Particularly, I'm thinking about the statistics unit because it is the first in the book. Below are my ramblings about my planned unit (including some links to materials). I would love feedback and suggestions!

2 years ago, I had Coach come in and talk about sports statistics. I didn't do that last year, but I'll have to make it a priority again---it was fun for everyone and gave a little non-math-class context for what we were doing.

Because this is my third year at a small school, I know most of the students who will be in the class already. The first day of school, I plan to go over basic rules and procedures and jump right in. I was thinking of starting with a simple warm-up---maybe finding mean, median, and mode of a data set. It will let me introduce warm-up procedures right away, as well as see whether the students' brains have turned to mush over the summer. Later, I'm thinking of doing a word sort activity using some statistics-related word cards from I might put together a student survey, too, just so I can get some real-life data for problems during the unit.

Last year, I used some of the supplemental materials from as I was starting my statistics unit. It worked okay, but things dragged on a bit. As I read through the teacher's guide again, I realized I need to make smaller groups, use some of the team collaboration strategies suggested by CPM, and set a time limit for some of the activities. The part that I will be using is about one-variable statistics (Chapter 11 in the Integrated Math 1 course). I plan to do the first two parts as is, as they will be review. I want to introduce standard deviation by hand before I teach them to do it with a calculator, so I will insert a day between sections 2 and 3. I made a PowerPoint for this purpose.

After the cpm materials, I'll use the textbook problems, along with analyzing real data. (Last year, we looked at some stats from the students' home countries. In a fourteen-student class, we had 8 nationalities represented!) I may also use some of the materials form if the kids need extra practice/reinforcement. I used some of these last year, but the lesson on standard deviation brought up both population and sample standard deviation. I taught them both last year, but I think it was a bit much. This year, I think I'll just stick with population standard deviation, since that's what's in the book.

I also saw a few days ago that Lisa Henry posted her statistics unit materials on her blog. I like her "I Can" statements, and I may pull some of her practice problems for formative assessments.

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