Reflection: Perseverance Where Does My Stuff Come From? Part 2: Organizing Data - Section 3: "Where Does My Stuff Come From?" Part 2


I mentioned it in my lesson narrative, but every year when I teach this project the insight feels new, so I'd like to repeat it here: when students work together to parse their data on Part 2 (and tomorrow, on Part 3) of the "Stuff" project, they learn so much about perseverance and collaboration.

Students start with their own imperfect data that they gathered on Part 1.  On Part 2, they group up and quantify that categorical data by country, then on Part 3, they disaggregate it by category.  This work gets messy: errors arise, someone misses a data point, and the numbers don't quite add up.  When they're filling in the marginal frequencies on Part 3 (again, see tomorrow's lesson for full details), there is bound to be something that doesn't work.  It's a very timely, very real world application, as data science continues to grow in stature, and it's messy work.  With all of this data, how can we ensure that it make sense?

I get to watch as students begin by getting frustrated that their results are imperfect.  Each group goes through a finger-pointing stage, where blame is passed around as to who is responsible for the error.  But then, I also get to watch as students get past that: "Well, we'll have to figure out what's going on," someone will say, and if they don't, I step in to say it.

Students flex their organizing and collaborating muscles, and often, they'll surprise themselves and each other as someone steps up to lead in completing the task.  When they're done, kids always want to tell me about their journey: what the error was, why it happens, and who solved the mystery.  Students take pride in getting everything to work, which adds another layer of ownership to this data.  When we debrief and move on to Part 4, everyone is highly engaged and excited to hear what happens next, because they've made it through this experience together.

  Making Sense and Collaborating
  Perseverance: Making Sense and Collaborating
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Where Does My Stuff Come From? Part 2: Organizing Data

Unit 5: Statistics
Lesson 13 of 20

Objective: SWBAT summarize categorical data in a frequency table and calculate percentages, while paying attention to sources of error.

Big Idea: What are some differences between summarizing quantitative data and summarizing qualitative data?

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stuff part 2 summarizing data
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