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# Statistics Gone Bad

Lesson 1 of 6

## Objective: Students will be able to determine whether a statistical statement or graph is accurate.

## Big Idea: No one likes to be tricked. Students explore the methods used in statistics to trick people.

#### Warm Up

*5 min*

I include **warm ups** with a **rubric** as part of my daily routine. My goal is to allow students to work on **Math Practice 3** each day. Grouping students into homogeneous pairs provides an opportunity for appropriately differentiated math conversations. This lesson’s Warm Up- Statistics Gone Bad, asks students to evaluate the accuracy of a statistical chart. This problem sets the tone for the day's lesson by getting students writing and talking about inaccuracies in statistics.

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#### Class Discussion

*15 min*

Today's goal is to set the stage for this statistics unit by focusing on thoughtful interpretation and analysis of statistical information. We will begin by analyzing five graphs or statements for misleading or inaccurate information (**Math Practice 3**). For each slide, I do a think pair share.

I think one of the most engaging topics in this lesson is "*The FBI's Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) shows arrests of juvenile females for assaults and violent crime from 1980 through 2003 rose from 20 percent to more than 30 percent of the tota*l". This seems scary and dramatic until you look at the addition facts related to this information which can be found at the live science website.

So often, people are presented with statistics that misrepresent the truth by not representing all of it. What a powerful lesson for students to learn and a perfect introduction into our statistics unit. Uncovering misleading statistics will be an ongoing theme throughout the remainder of this unit.

#### Resources

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#### Group Activity

*25 min*

Now that the students have had some experience looking at some misleading statistics, they will work with their partner to find the errors in 15 additional charts and statements. My students are already placed into partners that are rearranged each unit. I ask that they write down the mistake or error as well as a potential solution if there is one. The goal of this activity is to re-access some of their prior knowledge of statistics as well as get them thinking critically (**Math Practice 2**).

While they work, I pass out a note card on which they write their own and their partner's names. After 15 minutes, we come back together as a class. I collect the note cards and use them to randomly pick pairs to share their analysis of each graph or statement (**Math Practice 3**). Depending on the motivation of the class, I may attach points to this share out. After each group shares their problem, I open the class for questions. I ask my students to keep strictly to questions rather than just sharing their own opinion. This requires a bit more thinking on the part both the presenters and the listeners, as well as reveals multiple ideas for each problem. For example, rather than saying, " I think ____ is happening," they would need to say "What do you think about _______?"

#### Resources

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#### Exit Ticket

*5 min*

I use an exit ticket each day to provide a quick formative assessment to judge the success of the lesson.

Today's Exit Ticket asks the students to list the methods that are used to mislead people with statistics. This lets me know how well students understood some of these issues.

#### Resources

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*Responding to LATONIA CALHOUN*

Thank you Latonia for mentioning this! My goal was for the group discussion to highlight all the conclusions. It is always the hope that students will come up with a complete list of misconceptions as a group. However, this is often not the case. Depending on the class, I may ask leading questions to specific groups as they present if they are close to but missing an important observation. Or, I may guide the entire class into a discussion about a misconception that has been missed. I find it very important to read the class and adjust the activity to fit their needs. There has been more that once that I have altered an activity like this and run a guided investigation instead to ensure that the students got where they needed to be. My hope is that students come up with conclusions on their own but my responsibility is to ensure that they get there one way or another. There is a very interesting balance between giving the reins to the students and stepping in to ensure that all topics are covered that I am continually working at perfecting. This is probably one of my biggest places of growth as a teacher that I have encountered as I have embraced the Common Core into my classroom.

If you try this activity, I would be very interested in hearing how it goes in your classroom. Thanks!

| 3 years ago | Reply

Very good lesson. However, I think the conclusion should definitely refer back to the meat of the lesson. A lot of exploratory thought, but I didn't see where if the students didn't know the different ways data can be misleading it was actually discussed by you or mentioned/referenced. I could have missed it some where.

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