Adventures in Statistics

Tom Scavo and Byron Petraroja

Contents || Tom's Math Lessons


As the project developed and the usefulness of the data became apparent, we decided to invite the principal into our classroom to share the results. We thought that perhaps she would find the data useful when it came time to assign students to various classrooms next year.

We divided the project into parts and assigned three or four students to each part, asking them to study the data and the charts, and to prepare a short presentation. Each group was responsible for a single aspect of the project. For example, one group of students introduced the area measurement chart (Table 1), and two other groups presented the corresponding bar graphs (Figure 3 and Figure 4). Basically, there was one group for each chart and graph (there were six altogether) with an additional group responsible for summarizing and interpreting the data at the very end of the presentation. Realizing the time constraints involved, and wanting the presentation to go as smoothly as possible, we rehearsed the entire presentation twice (on different days).

There was excitement in the air the day the principal was to arrive. We were pleasantly surprised when she brought the District Superintendent of Instruction with her. Everyone was a little nervous, and some were timid, but our anxiety wore off and the presentation commenced. The principal and superintendent asked some very pointed questions that the students handled quite well. At the end of the presentation, the principal told the children that the data they had collected were indeed useful to her. Because of this, the students were justifiably proud of their work.

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Tom Scavo
7 August 1996