- Chris Adcock
- Statistics and Probability
- Material Type:
- Lesson Plan
- Middle School
- Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial
- Media Formats:
Picking a Question
Outlining A Project Proposal
Students form groups and identify a question to investigate for the unit project. Each group submits a proposal outlining the statistical question, the data collection method, and a prediction of results.
Students will apply what they have learned from the first two lessons to begin the unit project.
Goals and Learning Objectives
- Choose a statistical question to answer over the course of the unit.
- Determine the necessary data collection method.
- Predict the results.
- Write a proposal that outlines the project.
Introduction to the Project
Have students look through the rubric alone for a few minutes before beginning a class discussion.
Review what it means to ask a statistical question to reinforce the kind of question students need to construct for this project.
Possible questions to pose:
- “How tall am I?” is not a statistical question, but “How tall are the students in this class?” is. Why?
- How could we rewrite the question “What is your favorite song?” so that it is a statistical question?
- Why is it important to include units in measures of data?
SWD: Group work provides students with disabilities numerous opportunities to collaboratively interact with the mathematics as they share ideas, strategies, and solutions.
Introduction to the Project
Today you will form groups and choose a statistical question to answer. This question will be the basis of your statistics project. The question you choose must be one that requires you to collect and analyze numerical data to find the answer(s).
You will work on this project over the course of the unit. You will be given some class time to work on your project, but you will also work on it at home. At the end of the unit, your group will present your project to the class. Your teacher will use a project rubric to evaluate all of the projects.
- Look through the rubric and discuss it with your classmates.
HANDOUT: Distributions and Variability Project Introduction
Discuss the Math Mission. Students will choose a project group and question, and then write a proposal for the project.
Choose a project group and project question, and write a proposal for your project.
Choose a Project
Have students form groups for the unit project. When determining the size and number of groups, keep in mind that group presentations and feedback discussions will take place during the last two lessons of the unit. Also let students know that they should gather their data before the in-class work day (Lesson 13).
Groups should look over the list of suggested questions and choose one from the list, or choose another question that they are interested in. Possible sources for questions:
- A question from the Lesson 2 (Task 4) list:
- How tall are you (to the nearest inch)?
- How far can you jump (to the nearest inch)?
- How long is your foot (to the nearest half inch)?
- How high can you reach (to the nearest inch)?
- How many hours per week do you watch television?
- How many letters are in your first name?
- A question to investigate another characteristic of sixth grade students
ELL: Check that ELLs are following each of the questions. Present the questions in writing to support ELLs.
Help students choose a question to investigate that is appropriate to their abilities and interests. In all projects, students will be expected to make at least two graphs and calculate measures of center and/or spread.
Questions to pose:
- How would you go about collecting data for this question?
- What units will the measurements be in?
- How will you ensure that the data will be collected in a consistent and accurate manner?
- How many data points do you think you will need to answer your question?
Students in a group have trouble making a decision on a project.
- Have you brainstormed different numerical data you can collect?
- What types of questions interest the group (science, sports, politics)?
- If everyone does not agree, can you narrow your choices down to two and vote on it?
Students choose a question that will result in categorical data.
- What is numerical data?
- When you collect your data, will it be numerical?
- Is there another type of data you can collect that will result in numerical data?
Choose a Project
The project list below includes many question ideas. You can choose one of these questions or think of a different question that your group would like to pursue.
If your group wants to research a different topic, think of a question that interests you, and then make sure you will be able to collect numerical data for the question. You can use the Internet to collect the data. Here are some ideas:
- Sports: What is the typical height of an NBA player?
- Nature: How tall is a typical sequoia tree?
- Presidents: How old is a typical president upon entering office?
- States: How many people live in a typical state?
In your group, choose a question for your statistics project.
HANDOUT: Picking a Question
About the Project
Groups that do not finish should complete their proposals as homework.
Look for groups that have chosen questions that will require different data collection methods to share during Ways of Thinking.
SWD: Post the rubric, a timeline of important dates, and examples of statistical questions in your classroom to help students as they work on their project. Check in with students to make sure they understand their tasks and are comfortable with all due dates.
Students don’t understand what to put in their proposal.
- Did you write the question your group chose to research?
- Did you write about how you are going to collect your data?
- Did you write about your “hypothesis”? What is your prediction about what your data will look like?
- Did you include all your team members and the specifics of how you are going to work together?
- Proposals should include: group names, the question, an explanation of how data will be collected, and a prediction of the results.
- Make sure students submit their proposals to you for approval.
About the Project
With your group, write a proposal to your teacher about the statistics project that you would like to work on.
- Make sure your proposal includes the following:
- The names of the people in your group.
- Your statistical question.
- An explanation of how you will collect your data.
- A prediction of what your results will be.
- Submit your proposal to your teacher for approval.
Students share their project ideas with their classmates.
SWD: During Ways of Thinking, facilitate the learning process by encouraging students to discuss multiple strategies for collecting data given a statistical question. Ask questions and guide discussions. Help students compare and contrast the variety of approaches that were used.
Mathematical Practice 3: Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.
- As students share their project proposals, have the class discuss how the type of statistical question influences the data collection method and the ability to predict results. Discuss whether or not each group has chosen appropriate questions, methods, and predictions.
Ways of Thinking: Make Connections
Listen as groups share their project ideas with the class.
As your classmates present, ask questions such as:
- Why did you choose this question?
- What do you expect the results to be?
- How are you going to collect your data?
- How will you report your data?
Reflect on Your Work
Have each student write a brief reflection before the end of class. Review the reflections to find out why students chose their statistics project question.
Write a reflection about the ideas discussed in class today. Use this sentence starter if you find it to be helpful.
The reason we chose this statistics project question is …