Carl's Teaching Blog

A place to talk about teaching and learning

Clog: What is it? and why average?

So I need to blog more about what goes in my classes and I rarely do get around to getting stuff written down, let alone polished and uploaded.  Why?  Well there are some great bloggers out there that are putting out great blogs and it is intimidating to imagine being asked to write something of a similar level of quality.  It’s also hard to sit down and put in the time it takes to reflect when I have to do a million other things for school, family, and watch cat videos important business matters.

However, I can try, so I’m going to try.  Each class blog (clog) will be short, to the point, and as close to daily as possibly.

 

Understanding Data:

This unit is looking at statistics and we started off by finding the “one number to summarize” a number of different questions about the people in the class.  They got in groups and went table to table looking for their groups data.  When they finished all but one of the six groups used the average to calculate the data.  It was kind of weird, so I asked them all to write about it and got back responses like:

  • because its the most convenient method to do.
  • Everyone used average because it was the easiest way to collect data an organize it. We could have calculated what was most frequent and found a percentage.

  • I think so many people used the average because it would give them the most accurate answer. Another way our group could have analyzed our data is by finding the mode.

  • The average is the most convenient way to find the class’s data, and we could of use proportion

It’s fascinating that most kids think the average is the most convenient, easiest and best way of finding the answer. Especially when they could have picked the mode which is literally counting. I am going to push students to come up wit different ways to think about the measurements of values by highlighting the differences between the different measurements.

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1 Comment

  1. Ellie

    As a teacher of statistics, I love the idea of having students look at raw data and ask them to make sense of it. My goal for them is as they learn different ways of visually presenting or analyzing data, they will add those to an arsenal of strategies they can use to attack raw data. But I find that they are meek when given raw data- ask me “is it ok if I…” or revert back to means or modes and leave it at that. I have found that it helps to get their juices flowing of they do a gallery walk of the data with post its- so they can see the ideas of others- but that takes time.

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