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Making Sense of Data in Context: Learning Statistics in K - 12

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Simmons College

300 The Fenway

Management Building (Room M105)

Boston, MA 02115

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This is a hands-on workshop for elementary, middle school, and high school math and science teachers who either use or teach statistics in their classes. It is being offered by the Boston Chapter of the American Statistical Association (ASA) and will be lead by the their K – 12 Statistics Educator Ambassador Christine Franklin. No prior knowledge of statistics is required.

Chris is a dynamic teacher in the classroom and with pre-service teachers who has directed national and local initiatives for teaching K-12 statistics for understanding. Her approach is student-centered and interdisciplinary. She is the lead writer for the Pre-K-12 Guidelines for the Assessment and Instruction in Statistics Education (GAISE) Framework and the chair of the writing team of the Statistical Education of Teachers (SET) report.


I am hoping that you will spread the word to teachers and administrators. If teachers have one day for professional development in statistics, which is now in the MA standards, Common Core, and the SAT/ACT, this would be a very worthwhile offering.


Who: K – 12 math and science teachers and pre-service teachers. Space is limited to 30 participants.


What: Hands-on workshops with activities for their classroom

Breakfast and lunch


Where: Simmons College, Management Building (Room M105), Boston (http://www.simmons.edu/about-simmons/contact-us/directions)


Public transportion: Take Green line E train (Heath Street) to the Museum stop

By Car: Free parking at garage entered on Avenue Louis Pasteur, which is underneath the Management Building


Workshop content:

Session One: Conceptualizing Variation from the Mean: Evolving from 'Number of Steps' to the ‘SAD' to the ‘MAD' to the 'Standard Deviation'


This session will share interactively how conceptual understanding of variability is being promoted across elementary to middle to secondary grade levels, as required in the MA math standards and the Common Core.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if every student who graduates from high school understands what it means to be two standard deviations -- a measure of variability, away from the mean? Our teaching experience demonstrates that students more often than not can’t conceptualize what the standard deviation is measuring; instead, the students are too focused on getting through the formula for calculating the standard deviation. We develop this understanding from "how many steps" to Mean Average Difference (MAD) to standard deviation.

Session Two: What are key practices for students to apply when developing statistical habits of mind?

Students and teachers at all grade levels are expected to use eight mathematical practices that help them with the habits of mind necessary to acquire and apply mathematical knowledge. These also guide teachers lesson planning and formative assessment, and when viewed through a statistical lens they can reinforce well-formed statistical thinking. In this session we'll explore how the mathematical practices could be used within your classrooms to promote sound habits of mind for both mathematical and statistical reasoning.

Session Three: Using Simulation to Prepare Students to Reason Statistically

Individuals who aspire to most careers in our data centric society must be statistically literate. This session will focus on using hands-on simulations, as required in the MA mathematical standards and the Common Core, to be followed by technological simulations. This strategy will provide a learning trajectory across grade levels enabling students by the time they graduate to gain statistical reasoning skills needed for understanding key statistical concepts of evolving from data exploration working with categorical data to statistical inference about association. Pedagogical strategies that promote discourse fluency will be discussed.


For further information on content, please contact Sharon Hessney at shessney@massinsight.org.

For all other information, please contact Robert Carver at rcarver@stonehill.edu.

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Simmons College

300 The Fenway

Management Building (Room M105)

Boston, MA 02115

View Map

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