I Need Your Help: Building Statistical Reasoning

I need your help. And it shouldn’t take long.

A Few of My Favorite Things

I have a handful of go-to routines that work well in a variety of courses for a wide range of students:

I’ve used some of these for years, and others for just a few months or days. But they all have a few things in common:

  1. Students find them engaging and enjoyable
  2. They spark meaningful classroom discussion
  3. While they have the potential to become full-fledged lessons, they also work very well as mini-tasks
  4. Their relatively small “size” (5 or 10 minutes, as opposed to 45-90) makes them repeatable, even on a regular basis

How You Can Help

Alright, that’s the context. Here’s my problem:

I need more bite-sized tasks for statistics and probability.

True, there are a handful of #wyrmath prompts that address stats and probability topics. And you can certainly do some nifty statistical analysis with the data streaming in during Estimation 180. However, while I love those resources, I’m greedy for more.

So if you know of anything that is engaging, sparks lively discussion, and is brief enough to repeat on a daily or weekly basis… I would love to hear about it, either in the comments below, or on the Twitter (@mjfenton).

Whether it’s a one-off mini-task you’ve created, a treasure trove ready-to-serve statistical/probability goodness that you’ve discovered, or even just something you’ve half-imagined, I’d be thrilled to expand my resource pool, especially in a stats and probability direction.

And If You Think You Can’t Help…

If you don’t have any resources to share—or even if you do—maybe you’ll consider punching one of those “Share this” buttons below to get some other people in this crowdsourcing mix.

Thanks in advance for your help!


The title is an intentional reference to Andrew Stadel’s gold-mine of estimation challenges.

Comments 4

  1. Michael, I have a few “one offs” on my blog which could work well in a MS environment. For my next NCTM talk, I am kicking around something on variability and inference in the middle school environment. Your input on the need for this, and how these tasks may fit into such a talk, are certainly welcome.

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  3. Hey Michael.
    What about trying something like this?
    Create a google form to send out to your students asking them about data you could collect on a daily basis as you greet your students at the door. They could come up with stuff ranging from shoe color to height to a specific color clothing (assuming you have free dress or color options with uniforms) to short hair to hours slept to who ate breakfast and everything in between.
    The goal would be to collect ideas about things student might be interested in knowing more about. Once you have your list, you could do daily or weekly data gathering.

    I like the flexibility where you could surprise them by not telling them what you’ll collect the next day or give them a heads up by saying, “tomorrow I’ll be keeping track of who wears purple.” sort of thing. The reason I like this last one is because it lends itself to mob activities your students could do around campus. “Did you notice that all those students are dressed like Best Buy employees? Yea, I think all those kids are Mr. Fenton’s students.”

    Not sure if this is what you were looking for with data, stats and probability. Keep me posted.

  4. Andrew, I love it! Thanks for sharing. First, I think the idea of having students generate not just the data, but even the questions will help to hook their interest even more.

    The “known in advance” factor could also create some interesting days that make other teachers and students wonder. I’ll take increased curiosity almost any time I can get it. 🙂

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