Teaching Statistics and Probability Is Great for Promoting Problem Solving and Critical Thinking

660 Words Dec 18th, 2012 3 Pages
Teaching Statistics and Probability is great for promoting problem solving and critical thinking, enhancing communication, developing number sense, and applying computation. As it applies to every day situations and appeals to our sense of fairness, it is very close in nature to inquiry based learning. Children encounter ideas of statistics and probability outside of school every day. The data students see are often represented graphically, statistically, or probabilistically. Weather reports are just one example of probability data we hear on the news.
Begin teaching probability by formulating questions. “How many children in this class prefer to eat apples?” Children are familiar with line plots, which they learned earlier, review and
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Mode- the value that occurs most frequently in a collection of data. Young children are often interested in which item occurs most, they learn mode first. It’s good for finding average age in the classroom. Median, the middle value in a data set, is another type of average that is suitable for children and does not require computations. Before finding median, children will need to order their data. Mean, an arithmetic average, is most difficult to compute. It is helpful to explain the concept as if numbers are “evened out”. Sometimes, for accuracy, outliers need to be disregarded. As students investigate measures of central tendency they should be presented with multiple data sets that have the same median and mode. Measures of variability is used to describe how data is spread out. Range is one of the measures of variability. Interpreting results of fundings also encourages the development of data sense. One of the activities that could help to develop the skills of interpreting the results is to give students graphs that are missing labeling, and have them find the missing information.
To further solidify children’s knowledge of graphic representations of the data, communicating results is introduced. Children will be writing about their research, breaking down graphic data and making sense out of it.
Probability is a harder concept to grasp, and to begin the process of building knowledge, teacher could start with

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