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# Role Play PLUS Flaws and Fallacies in Statistical Thinking

Lesson 2 of 21

## Objective: Students will be able to take part in a reenactment of a real world statistical study in the 1850’s AND learn about flaws and fallacies in statistical thinking!

## Big Idea: From an opening skit to creating flawed statistics, the students will be actively engaged in this lesson!

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During this section of the lesson, I will expose students to several data collection and statistical scenarios. At first glance to the students, these scenarios appear like ones that might be heard on the radio, read in a newspaper/magazine, or found in some other capacity in the real world. HOWEVER, THEY ARE FLAWED! One of the most important skills that I want to teach my students is that it is important to “put their filter on” when consuming statistical information. Although not every statistic is intentionally tainted, there is a lot of junk out there!

To conduct this activity, I put the students in groups of three. Each person in the group is handed a different scenario to present to the other two. The students are instructed that for the next 25 minutes, they will be members of a student council on academics. Their job is to assess the validity of the statistical data being presented. (All of the scenarios have issues!) I instruct the students that each scenario will receive 8 minutes discussion time, and that I will rotate the students when the 8 minutes is up. (I use the online timer )

At the end of the discussion, I bring the class back together to analyze the scenarios. These are all written out for everyone to see on the PowerPoint. As the whole class brings up reasons to invalidate the data for each problem, I make a list of points on the board… Hence, a PARTIAL list of flaws and fallacies in statistical thinking is created! The students will use this list in their homework, so remind them to take careful notes.

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#### Homework

*10 min*

After wrapping up our discussion on flaws and fallacies in statistical thinking, I roll out the homework assignment for the evening. I tell the students that they must create 2 flawed data collection/statistical scenarios (similar idea to what I created for them in class). This is beneficial because if the students are ASKED to create a flawed or slanted statistic, then they will understand the thinking that goes into it. I tell the students that they will use these creations tomorrow in a whole class activity, so bring them done! My goal is NOT to teach the kids to be weasels, but to expose them to practices that really take place in the real world – sometimes intentionally, and sometimes unintentionally. It is important to be sound mathematical consumers of statistics and part of the way to develop the skill is to try and create the opposite! What a great way to emphasize MP 3 – Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others AND **MP 6** – Attend to precision.

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- UNIT 1: Culture Building Unit - Welcome to the New Year!
- UNIT 2: Exponential and Logarithmic Functions
- UNIT 3: Sequences and Series
- UNIT 4: Statistics: Something for Everyone
- UNIT 5: Review Lessons
- UNIT 6: Writing Prompts in Mathematics
- UNIT 7: Trig Tidbits
- UNIT 8: Functions, Problem Solving, and 21st Century Skills
- UNIT 9: Polynomials and Problem Solving
- UNIT 10: Probability
- UNIT 11: Imagine This! Imaginary and Complex Numbers
- UNIT 12: Let's Explore Radicals!

- LESSON 1: Statistics - Opening Activities and Discussion
- LESSON 2: Role Play PLUS Flaws and Fallacies in Statistical Thinking
- LESSON 3: Flaws and Fallacies (cont.) AND Types of Data
- LESSON 4: Stepping into Box Plots
- LESSON 5: An Introduction to Histograms
- LESSON 6: Using Excel to Create a Histogram
- LESSON 7: A-Mazing Inferential and Descriptive Statistics!
- LESSON 8: What does the Bell Curve SOUND like?
- LESSON 9: The HOW and WHY Behind Standard Deviation
- LESSON 10: A Second Dose of Standard Deviation
- LESSON 11: Straight Walkin' With Statistics - Day #1
- LESSON 12: Straight Walkin' With Statistics - Day #2
- LESSON 13: Straight Walkin' With Statistics - Day #3
- LESSON 14: Review and Extensions
- LESSON 15: Student Motivated Workshop
- LESSON 16: Let's Help the 6th Graders!
- LESSON 17: Let’s Help the 6th Graders: Problem Work Time
- LESSON 18: Let’s Help the 6th Graders: Final Day
- LESSON 19: Let's Help the 6th Graders: Debrief
- LESSON 20: Teaching Numbers and Excel
- LESSON 21: Muddying the Waters: Formative Assessment Lesson