This seems like it’s my first Clog of the school year. Yes, it’s been a while, I feel genuinely lazy about it. The school year is fine, everything is fine (well, my kids take forever to go to sleep, but I guess that’s normal). I have another project that is taking up all of my writing brain, and our country’s news cycle is crushing my soul. There’s really no reason I’m avoiding blogging, honestly. I guess, I just need to do it. Which is why I’m excited to get started on this #Mtbos2020 writing challenge.

Math Toolbox for Statistical Inference

I was teaching a stats class for this cycle as basically a push in to a literacy class. My job was to help the kids learning in this class be able to use graphs and other forms of data in their papers better. One thing we started to come up with was this idea of math toolbox. I wanted it to be a series of questions that kids could use to unpack the number that they would find in articles. Often we’d see kids copying any number verbatim out of a text book and using it in confusing or straight up wrong ways in their paper.

The math toolbox has 4 boxes, each with a goal.

- Find out what the number is
- Make sense of the number
- Think about what the consequences of the number are
- Predict what you think the number should be

Here’s an example:

Does it seem cool? I think it needs some work in a couple of different ways:

More writing: Kids could write more, but that would probably mean I should write more to help them. I should have each box armed with sentence starters and examples so they know how to use it, not just the four questions.

More Boxes and more verbs: Each box has it’s verb that the kids are working on, Find, Make, Think, Predict. Each of these are important for making sense of a number that one might come across, but perhaps there could be more. Maybe a “Argue” box where kids have to use the number to defend and/or attack a point. Maybe “represent” where they have to make a graph or other representation. Maybe “contextualize” Where they compare the number to other numbers to help make sense of it.

Any other ideas about this toolbox? Are there other verbs we could use if we want to make it longer? Let me know in the comments below.

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