in looking at all of the aspects of maths that are expected to be covered over the course of a year I feel that statistics offers some really great opportunities. It allows a really authentic way for students to get into some real maths with data that matters to them and to others. It is not that there is not authentic ways to engage with the other aspects of the course and get into some real maths, it just sometimes seems like it doesn't seem like an authentic situation for them, there is not the emotional buy in. With statistics you have the opportunity to introduce some very provocative data sets or ones that directly speak about them. You can have some really great discussions about how statistics are used to make decisions, how others use them to make decisions that effect you, to look at how you or other people can use them to build convincing arguments (even if the stats are quite deceiving).
I am at the very start of my unit on statistics, but I wanted to start it with them having a discussion about some data, their own diagnostic testing data. I chose to use this data for a because sometimes I feel they don't see the use of doing the testing, they don't always treat it properly and that skews our data. I also chose it as I feel that they do not always understand the results of the data, I wanted them to have much more awareness of what the data tells them and of how we use the data as eduators.
The last person to talk picks the next person to talk (from those with a counter out) by throwing them a ball or similar, only the one with the ball can talk. Once a person has used all of their counters they then cannot contribute any more to the discussion, they can sit and listen, but that is it. The teacher in this process is a facilitator, but tries to stay out of the discussion as much as possible. They provide the provocation to start off with, they pick the first person to talk and they will ask questions to stimulate the discussion if it dies off completely. In this role you need to avoid jumping in to help with that I tend to give myself the same number of talking stones that everyone else gets, if they only have three opportunities to add to the discussion then I only have three to stimulate it, it forces me to be strategic as well. This is hard when you completely disagree with what is being said, but you need to let students be the ones to respond them and to challenge that thinking.
I gave them two prompts to start their contribution with they could start with
Mathematics Coach and Coordinator in Regional South Australia. Current driving the Empowering Local Learners project as a numeracy strategy from pre-school to senior secondary.
Opinions in this blog are my own and do not necessarily represent the views of my employer.