100 Students Project: Revising Questions & Planning the Survey

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I will be able to: • Define bias and identify how a biased question can affect survey results. • Define population and sample and how they can affect survey results. • Revise the survey questions so that they are clear and unbiased.

Big Idea

How can the wording of a question influence how people respond? Students learn about biased and unbiased questions, revise the questions they create in the previous lesson, and agree on procedures for administering the survey.

Do Now

5 minutes

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 criteria of a statistical question (directed toward a specific population, interesting, and will have a variety of responses).  For question #2, bullying is a significant topic but the way the question is written you will only know if the student has ever been bullied.  One way to improve this is by creating more specific answer choices.  New answer choices could be a) Yes, I am being bullied now, b) Yes, I have been bullied in the past, and c) No, never.  These answer choices would give students more specific information about bullying of students without having students write a personal response.

Question Bias Activity

10 minutes

After the Do Now, I have a student read the objectives for the day.  I tell students we will be revising the questions they developed in the previous lesson and agreeing on the procedures for giving the survey to students.

I want students to critically analyze the wording of the survey questions that they have created.  To introduce students to the idea of question bias, I pass out one sheet of paper to each student.   Half of the students will receive a question on red paper; the other half of the students will receive a question on blue paper.    

Blue Paper Question: Would you prefer to go see an action-packed movie with your friends or work for your neighbor? a. Go to movie

b. Work for your neighbor.

Red Paper Question: Would you prefer to go see a movie or make $50 for two hours of work babysitting your neighbor’s well-behaved child? 

a. Go to movie

b. Work for your neighbor.

At first I do not read the questions aloud.  I just ask students to raise their hand to show which response they prefer.  Most students with the blue paper will probably answer (a), while most of the students with the red paper will probably answer (b).  I’ll display both questions and read them aloud.  I ask students to take 2 minutes to jot down notes in the Venn diagram comparing the blue question and the red question.  Then I ask students to share out their observations.  Students will probably talk about how one question made a certain response sound more appealing.   Students will likely share that these type of questions will get more people to choose a certain response.

Biased and Unbiased Questions

5 minutes

I introduce the idea of biased vs. unbiased questions.  We read through the examples and work as a class to create a question and answer choices about bullying that is unbiased and clear.  If students need more practice, we will revise the questions on the blue and red papers.

Revising Survey Questions

20 minutes

Be sure to insert the 5 questions that class created in the previous lesson to the word document.  I have students work in pairs to revise the questions and create answer choices.  I walk around and monitor student progress. 

Here are some questions I may ask partners:

  • Why did you make that change?  How has that change improved the question?
  • Why have you created these answer choices?  Do they represent the variety of responses people may have to this question?
  • What does it mean for a question to be unbiased and clear?

For the last 7 minutes partners will share out their ideas.  Together we will create five revised questions.  If we have time we will create answer choices, if not I will collect the pages where students recorded the answer choices and type them up.


Population and Sample

15 minutes

As an introduction to population and sample, students read the example about the city planners.  As a class we fill out the tables showing the advantages and disadvantages of each option.  How might each sample/population affect the survey results?

 I tell students it is their job to explain to the city planners which survey method would be most appropriate.   I give students a few minutes to talk/listen to their partners and then we share out a few ideas, then we vote by a show of hands. 

I have students brainstorm in partners about how they should administer their survey?  Should they give the survey to the entire student population or just a sample?  What specific procedures should we have? 

We share out ideas as I record them.  Students may suggest that the survey is anonymous, so that students feel comfort answering tough questions.  Other students may suggest that they survey should be given to all of the students, even though it will take more time to analyze the data.  Some students may suggest a certain time of the day were students could take the survey (homeroom, dismissal, etc).  Other procedures may tackle how the students should give the survey in other classes (silent, desks moved apart, etc).    We use the last few minutes to come to agreement on the procedures we will use.  I will type these procedures up and give them to students before they administer the survey to other classrooms.


5 minutes

See the video 100 Students Concept Map.  Today students will probably connect vocabulary words like biased and unbiased to “Develop a Question”.  Also students may suggest that we connect population, sample, and/or method to “Collect Data”.   If I have time, I will spend the last few minutes giving students the opportunity to record their questions on post-its and put them on the 100 Students Project Parking Lot Poster.  See the video in my strategy folder for more details.