As part of a first day activity, I gave a small survey to my 27 AP-Stat students (year-long course). Since 14 classrooms in our junior high building here in Pierre, SD were condemned the middle of this summer and consequently, we had to move our 280 9th graders upto our already rather crowded High School building, we have done some major rearranging and construction part of which moved all the math department to the old welding and small engine areas and our computer lab which I counted on using at the beginning of school is not ready ... I apologize for the whining and the terrible run on sentence. I originally planned on collecting the data and use it to start learning some basic minitab stuff. Well, I just gathered the data sheets, and that evening put the data into a spreadsheet on my own computer and printed it out. On the second day of class, I gave a copy of the spreadsheet to my students. They were SURPRISED at some of the answers that were recorded for some of the questions--many missing, many with ridiculous answers from misread questions, etc. This led to a nice discussion of problems encountered when gathering survey data and what to do with these when making different plots and such. I should have expected this to happen as before I started teaching 5 years ago, I worked for 10 years in the Dept of Preventive Med at the U of Iowa, doing all sorts of statistical work-survey stuff, clinical trials, etc. We were able to clean up our survey data because we were able to talk to everyone of our cases individually and get them to answer the questions (after they read more carefully the second time)-- this is not always possible in "real" situations. I think they learned something about some of the dirty work that is necessary before actually "analyzing" the data. I hope to have our computer lab going in a few days. I enjoyed the MandM data. I had done this in some of my other math classes a couple years ago. Then gave a copy of an article I found in Harper's magazine (october 1988, pages 34-37) in which the author talks about his quest for info about M&M's (he gives the Distributions for plain and peanut, which are now dated because of BLUE!). Sorry for rambling on.
Gregg Drube T.F. Riggs High School Pierre SD 57501