In today's episode, Drs. Rebecca Hines and Lisa Dieker talk about practical ways to use statistics in the classroom. Tune in to hear tips and tricks on how to incorporate statistics easily.
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Lisa Dieker 00:00
Welcome to Practical Access I'm Lisa Dieker.
Rebecca Hines 00:04
And I'm Rebecca Hines and Lisa I think you're gonna nerd out with us again today.
Lisa Dieker 00:11
I was about to say I picked a nerdy topic I knew I needed to do one. All right, well, so the article I have that I really liked, but it actually came about from reading an article in the Mathematics Teacher Ed and I just really liked their new journal Unlearning to Teach But it's an article on the use of stats, statistics, in daily life, and you have enough experience of working with PhD students that when we start saying statistics they're like wahhhhh and we talk to teachers and they're like ugh, you know, stats and I think we need to unravel that for a bit and I think as a current topic and issue you know we've been bombarded with statistics in society forever, but even more lately from elections to you know the pandemic, to daily gas fuel shortages, you know how many, you know what that cyber attack did to the fuel lines and you just think about that on a daily basis, but I think that's like up here. I would just encourage families, this summer it's a great time summer is an amazing time to teach statistics and stop making it hard, but just think about it, you know a lot about stats. You go to the grocery store and you have a shopping cart, that is, two-thirds full how much does your child think it's going to cost, you know. If they're really young they're going to say, like my niece, $2 it's like well I wish. Whereas your teenager my dad is going to cost $200 so again having that discussion well what, what percentage of our budget did we spend on the grocery store today. I think we often see statistics as something scary and something that mathematicians do it's actually something everybody does every day now.
Rebecca Hines 01:48
Not only do people think about it informally every day, I think, I think you're right most people do but also it's kind of a shared interest when you, when you are part of the statistic. So any of us who have news feeds, for example, you know the pop-up in our phone we're looking at. You know there's always some X percentage of somebody did something and you're like oh, I'm one of them or oh, I'm not one of them. So so even personalizing statistics to a degree, and I, you know spend my every waking hour at the moment involved in sports and yeah you better believe every statistic, you know, if you think my kids aren't checking their stats all the time, they definitely are. They're well aware of their own statistics in sports, so how can we leverage this and how can we leverage this kind of information? How can we also tie this kind of information to other types of learning? I will transfer the skills that we use, you know when we go and look up our statistics in sports, how do we transfer that skill you know into other areas that's, that's really the key and I think that's also the opportunity for teachers.
Lisa Dieker 03:00
Yeah and you know you mentioned sports the Olympics are coming up right away what a great place to you know have your kids revisit. Those things are archived forever, you know watch their favorite sport or if they don't have a favorite sport have them, you know read their favorite newspaper, have them look at genetics if that's of interest to them. You know I think statistics are, are people think they're scary but I actually love this article she recommends in the classroom like she went around and went into a work office and just took pictures and then ask the kids to analyze pictures of the workplace, you know how many people are in a standing desk? How many people were using a MAC versus PC? How many people had post-it notes on their walls? There's so much data, and if you mix digital image with data, you can have statistics coming out your ears, even better, send your kids out to a couple workplaces have them take pictures of something that's interesting and bring it back. You're at a local McDonald's, you're at you know, calculate the calories per the price, price per cents you'll find that you know Burger King, Wendy's, and McDonald's you might have more calories for less money but again, what's the nutritional value. So there it's just everywhere, and I think we make it hard and scary and so somebody who loves loves loves STEM the jobs of the future mean we all have to be a little better at stats. Well, we don't because we have jobs. If you don't have a job that's different that's probably an area to maybe think about building up your skills, but our children have to be better than they ever have been not necessarily in calculating it we got this thing called a computer. But understanding like it spit out, and I think that's what I love about this article, she says, you know use pictures, use data, frame your question, and make it organic that it's just something that happens every day all day long.
Rebecca Hines 04:44
And you mentioned images, Lisa. From recently going through a lot of high school level work and test prep and SAT prep, etc being able to understand displayed data is a critical skill as well. So both generating it and being able to understand visuals associated with stats really critical right now. So let's put the practical spin on it, it's summer, let's desensitize kids to the words associated with statistics. Let's try to make it something that again, the more we can talk about and model thinking about stats the less scary it's going to be when kids get back to school.
Lisa Dieker 05:32
And I'm going to end with my favorite statement that your child or your student can never be wrong when you ask them to predict. Yet it is a fascinating skill set when you ask a kid to predict because they predict the grocery cart will cost $2 and another predicts $200 and it costs $87 and 50 cents. What a great lesson to teach statistics, but really good statisticians they don't need, you know, I'm a coupon shopper you know me Becky and I can calculate a discount on a clothing item at 70% off with 4% off and 2% off in my head and my husband and son look at me instantly but that's the reason I'm, I've always been good in math. So again wherever you are in life, it doesn't matter, the topic, whether you know you're into robotics, you're into shopping, or you're into sports or you're into education or you just like to go to the golf course or you like to go to the restaurants statistics are sitting there waiting, but the best way to start always, especially with kids that you think don't quite get it is let them predict, and we know many of our kids with disabilities struggle and when they predict the cart will cost $200 and it costs $12.50 cents, you know that's when you start to have those hard discussions. Let's talk about less and more go, go to simpler words, instead of predicting and then start to say okay, is this car going to cost more than $20 or less. Oh, it's going to cost a lot more, I don't know it costs $12.50 so again, you keep kind of waning down what you're talking about the predicting is one of my personal favorites because kids never feel bad when they predict.
Rebecca Hines 07:10
That's, that's a great tip and I hope that everybody who's teaching younger kids understands that whether you're doing this, you know as a parent this summer or if you're a teacher of younger kids if we can start doing that in our elementary classrooms having those kinds of conversations, especially Lisa the idea of predicting in a really low stakes way you're really setting kids up for success later.
Lisa Dieker 07:34
All right, well, we hope you got some ideas now go do some statistics from this session thanks for joining us, you can send us questions on our Facebook page at Practical Access or you can send us a tweet @AccessPractical.