Part of my class routine is a do now at the beginning of every class. Students walk into class and pick up the packet for the day. They get to work quickly on the problems. Often, I create do nows that have problems that connect to the task that students will be working on that day. For this do now, I want students to review the steps of working with statistics.
After the Do Now, I have a student read the objectives for the day. I tell students we will be working on understanding different types of questions as well as brainstorming questions we want to ask students. In the next lesson they will revise the questions that they brainstorm today.
I pause the Learn Zillion movie so that students can record their notes and answer questions. I have students work on page 3 independently and then share out their thinking.
I want students to take away that a statistical question is interesting, has a specific population in mind and allows for variability in responses. All of our survey questions will be focused on the student population of the school. There also may be questions that only have two answer choices that students may decide are important enough to include on the survey. One way to create more variability is to create a range of answer choices. This will be addressed in the next lesson, Revising Questions & Planning the Survey. I want students to understand that the problem with a question that has too much variability is that you are not able to interpret the answers in a meaningful way. If you ask students what their favorite hobby is, there will probably be so many different responses that it will be difficult to summarize and communicate them in an efficient way.
A volunteer re-reads the goals of the project. Students take a few minutes to brainstorm what type of questions they should ask. I remind students that they will need to be able to collect and analyze the data efficiently. Students will most likely come to the conclusion that they need to create multiple choice questions or yes-no questions. I also push students to think about a few insightful and significant questions. These are questions that dig deeper than other questions. A couple examples are, “Do you judge others by their appearance?” and “Do you plan to go to college?”
Before students begin working on page 5, I split them into groups of 3-4. For this activity I allow students to choose their own groups. Students move their desks into groups and then I give them 30 seconds to find a seat with other students. Then students will spend 3 minutes brainstorming questions independently. The next 7-10 minutes is used for students to discuss questions as a group and brainstorm at least 3 statistical questions that they would want to ask students.
During this time I am walking around and monitoring student progress. If students are struggling to determine whether they have a statistical question, I’ll refer them to the summary on page 2.
Here are some other questions I may ask groups:
At the end of the 7-10 minutes I will tell students that each group is going to nominate one question for the survey. I give groups 2 minutes to debate and decide on one question. Each group has one member share their question and I record them under the document camera. I ask students to discuss the merits of each question and share out their opinions. After a few minutes I ask students to vote for the question they want on the survey – I want to narrow it down to 5 questions for each section. There are four sections of 6th grade math at my school, so we will have a 20 question survey.