Summer Lesson Building (Statistics: Graphical Representations of Center and Spread)

So, I currently have a large amount of teacher “stuff” floating around my head at the moment.

1) I don’t think I’ll be needed to teach a section of geometry this year. This didn’t hit me too hard when I first found out, but, the more I ponder it, the more upset I get that I won’t be able to reinvent that curriculum. I spent a lot of time working on that class last year, and had good EOC results…and it’s all a bunch of irrelevant complaining. It’s time to move on and teach what’s in front of me…Stats and Algebra II.

2) I’ve been reading Daniel Willingham’s book “Why Don’t Students Like School?” He’s a cognitive scientist connecting how the brain works to classroom performance. I feel like this book will change my approach in my classroom (more on that in a later post).

3) I need to do a better job of incorporating reading in my content area. I’m tired of being given the pass that it’s “hard to incorporate reading into a math classroom.” I have to create an environment that cultivates math as an everyday experience that goes beyond the classroom.

And this is where I need some help. #3.

Recently, I was reading one of my favorite blogs about the Philadelphia Eagles, Bleeding Green Nation, and I came across this article:

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I love how this blog (and a few others about my favorite Philadelphia sports) will incorporate actual statistical arguments into their analysis of my favorite NFL team. I have decided that my students need to experience this article. There’s such rich conversation that will come out of my students reading this article.

I’m hoping that the conversation will lead here:

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I know that I want to ask my students the following questions:
-Which team do you expect to have the most wins? How do you know this?
-What does the “height” of a teams graph represent?
-Is it possible that the Cardinals have more wins than the Seahawks? How do you know?
-Is it likely that the Cardinals have more wins than the Seahawks? How do you know?
-What is the difference between the last two questions?
-For which team is it easiest to predict the number of wins? How do you know?
-For which team is it hardest to predict the number of wins? How do you know?
-Explain how measures of center and measures of spread are shown in this graph.

I need other thoughts of teachers experienced in incorporating these type of activity in class. I’m hoping for a wonderful discussion. Any and all thoughts are welcome!