Math 3: Statistics
In this Statistics unit, scholars will learn about patterns and deviations from patterns, investigate displays of statistics, use stats to make informed decisions, learn the procedures of well-designed experiments, the impact of bias on a study or experiment, all while using data sets relevant to their community. Note from the writer: Throughout the spring and summer of 2020 I noticed how data and statistics were presented in the news. The statistics that people were asked to consume were usually very different from what is typically taught in high school mathematics classes. Statistics on infection rates and mortality rates for Covid-19, statistics on police violence toward people of color, statistics on the effectiveness of different virus treatments or vaccines, all seem to present categorical data in ratios and percentages that seem different from what students often learn in middle school (and then not again). I decided that I wanted to present a unit that seemed very current and relevant to students’ lives and presented data right from the news. I acknowledge that the level of mathematics in this opening part of the unit is not done at a very high level for high school students; however I want my students to really understand statistics that they see in the news or on social media. I want my students to practice reading and interpreting infographics and developing some digital literacy skills. I want them to see how statistics can be used to mislead people who don’t dig deeper or question the sources. In an attempt to keep students engaged and thinking from home while they Zoom for class I believe that this introduction to the unit on statistics was really important. I am more happy, as a teacher, if my students can research a topic that is important to them and use statistics to support their claim, than if they can calculate a standard deviation or determine whether or not a data value would be considered an outlier. In a normal year of in person teaching this unit introduction might look very different, but this has not been a normal year.
Dr. Kevin Westrich