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Day 83: Assessment using Google Forms

As I mentioned yesterday, I am becoming a big fan of Google Forms for an easy and flexible medium for assessing student work.  Needless to say, the possibilities for building in student voice in the classroom are so broad.

Today, I began to read through and grade my AP Statistics students’ Bias Projects.  The posters were hung in the classroom, as you saw yesterday.  I took my high stool and my iPad and worked my way around the room.  The Google Form I set up made it easy to assess and record.  I used the “4” or top rating descriptors under each category to help me focus on the key aspects of the category.  For instance, one category is Data Collection.  The descriptor included

  • Method of data collection is clearly described,
  • Includes appropriate randomization,
  • Describes efforts to reduce bias, variability, confounding,
  • Quantity of data collected is appropriate.

The descriptors helped me gauge the quality of my students’ product and the Google Form drop-down made it a breeze to quickly grade.


I spent about 7 minutes per poster reading and evaluating the quality of the work.

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Once I finished assessing the final products, I posted them outside my room to share with the school.  As students and teachers walk by, I hear lots of interesting comments…I sure hope it translates into increased enrollment next year.

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Day 82: Response Bias Project

I just want to thank Josh Wilkerson once again for helping me create meaningful experiences for my AP Statistics students.  As I mentioned earlier this year, I am hoping to replicate his Community Service Learning Project as the end of year experience for my students.

One suggestion Josh gave was to give two smaller projects during first semester to see how students work together.  I have found that they also give opportunities for the students to revisit previous concepts in a real world setting.  In first quarter, my students completed an Infographics Project.  In second quarter, I had them complete the Response Bias Project he suggested. And I love the results!!

The projects were due today.  As part of the evaluation process, students needed to complete a peer review of 4 other projects.  I used GoogleForms for students to enter their evaluations as well as include comments.  They had about 8 minutes to read through the poster and evaluate it.  I thought they’d need 10 minutes, but they didn’t

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What I like about the Google Form is it is easy to make accessible to my students, by using our school login I get an automatic signature and the students can keep resubmitting the form.  In addition, the results end up in an Excel spreadsheet so I can then add up the totals, sort by student being evaluated as well as those who did the evaluating.

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Student earned points from the average of their peers’ evaluations as well as points for thoughtful and meaningful evaluations of their peers. I now hope to merge the comments into a personalized Word document so each student can get their peers’ feedback anonymously.  Here are a few of the peer comments:

  • Originally I liked the idea of flaps but as soon as I had to reach on my tippy toes to hold the flap up I grew tired of it. Then I took the poster down from the wall and I liked the design again.
    The plentiful analysis in the conclusions is good and clear. I’m surprised 20 males said they didn’t support feminism, especially since we’re talking about XXHS students!
  • I like how you chose a topic extremely relevant to all of us. You did a good job explaining the difference in the questions and why that would elicit different responses. Don’t forget your table! Do you think underclassmen would give different results? I might interview them too in order to remove bias.
  • I thought the experiment was very well thought out and thorough. You lovely duo did a great job articulating your points. Maybe in the future you should experiment with whether putting one of the names first affects the results? I might also put less text and more visual stuff on the poster. Great job though
  • I feel like the questions are a little vague, as they could present a large amount of bias. Some students might not like the teachers, even though they are learning a lot and they are satisfied with the learning, prompting more “no” answers than should be present. However, I love the organization of this poster, it is very neat.
  • I like how you captured an interesting concept (extra information bias) very simply. But, given that your population is American Women, I think it is statistically incorrect that you only found samples from XXXXX’s Facebook contacts who do not represent all American women. A better population would have been Teenage girls in XXXXXXXXX.

I love how my students used the statistical vocabulary with ease and relatively correctly!  This project is definitely a keeper.

Summer Musing #1: APS Project – Making it Meaningful

I just love the summer because everything seems possible.  No sense of time constraints or sudden schedule time changes.  Hope you are also enjoying a summer of musing, dreaming and thinking about what might be possible!  Here are my first thoughts about using Service Learning as a vehicle for deep learning in AP Statistics

Plan for the APS Poster and Project for 2015-16 year

This year I’d like my students to actually think about a long term important question that statistics can answer in some way.  I’d also like the question to be connected as a community project as per Josh Wilkerson (website where the students identify, contact and work with a community partner (business, medical, law, non-profit, etc.). Josh has some great support materials and a well thought-out process that I may want to emulate. What I’d like to do is have students pick a topic that might tie into an eventual community partner situation.  First semester they would collect data around their question maybe via a survey and second semester connect with a community partner in a service-learning project.  I plan to work with Christine Van der Hoeven with this aspect.

First Semester Ideas:

Josh shares the following for the set-up for a successful AP Stats Service Project:

The first fall project is a study in response bias in which students work in teams and gain experience in giving surveys, analyzing bias, and producing a statistical poster. The second fall project requires students to work in different teams to analyze data from the Census at School website. The second project gives students experience in working through real world data sets in Microsoft Excel, creating statistical charts and graphs, and developing an effective PowerPoint presentation. In total by the end of the fall the students have given surveys (both good and bad), examined data sets, worked with Excel, and given two different forms of presentations, all with different classmates as partners.

So I think I may use Jared Derksen’s Bias Project.  This seems to be a fun way to get students out and about while also having them experience bias in surveying first hand.

I have wanted to use Census at School in my statistics classroom for a couple of years, but have never actually gotten around to really understanding how to use the site and then creating an activity that is worth the time it takes.  Perhaps this summer I’ll make that happen!

I’m also thinking I’d like my students to complete a poster for the ASA Poster project (due April 1) Perhaps a follow-up write-up (a possible blog write-up like would add depth to this first semester project.

  • If I use the ASA guidelines, I won’t have to create all of the documentation. Students will have to decide if their project fits the requirements.
  • Maybe spend a day having students determine a grading rubric for their class grade based on the ASA guidelines and then have peer grading of the projects using a Google Form; again a time saver for me. By having the students peer grade, the average of the graders will be the grade for the student.  This takes me out of the picture while giving voice to students in class.  If students disagree with their peer’s grade, I can act as the final determining body, but won’t have to spend a huge amount of time grading individual posters.  I would have students create an argument for why their grade does not represent their final product.
  • Also have students write a blog post like this for a follow-up analysis.  Here is a possible example of what I’m thinking: or

Josh suggests this: For one of the very last assignments of the fall semester, give students the handout “AP Statistics Spring Project Questionnaire.” Take time to discuss with them the underlying motivation and general structure of the project, as well as sharing examples of successful projects from previous years (either in my class or that I have come across in different sources). Then ask them to submit a list of preferred community organizations that they wish to partner with for their project and to also indicate which other students with whom they would ideally like to work.

Second Semester Ideas:

Then the very first day of class of the second semester, I’ll dedicate to officially assigning the project (and revealing groups and assigned members?) Students would then determine possible community partnerships and begin the communication with them.   I had already contacted our Career and Technical Education supervisor for advice for helping my students with making community connections last spring so I’ll need to reconnect with her about how to best support the students in finding a community partner.  She did suggest not to give students a list, but rather let them work at making the connections.  She believes this is more empowering to the students and makes for a more committed relationship.

As a culmination of this work, they would write up the data analysis using inference in a scholarly project perhaps using the ASA Project requirements.  One thing I’m debating is should I have students submit their projects to the ASA by June 1?  It may be a pretty tight timeline since we are in school until June 24.   Maybe one of the presentation options is to do a summary presentation to the community partnership (and maybe share the video with the class?).

So I need to organize the sequence of learning opportunities, identify the supporting documentation needed and create those items I still may need.  Luckily, school doesn’t start until after Labor Day so I still have lots of my summer available….but not all for curriculum planning, I promise.

What are your musings for your classes next year?

Day 181: Up, Up and Away

Today’s the day!  My precalculus kiddos are finished with their balloons (so proud) and we’re flying them.  The weather was beautiful and much fun was had by all.  And all of the balloons flew – whew!  We even had 7 fly away beyond the school grounds….hopefully the phone number will help get them back.  It is a record to have that many balloons “disappear” into the wild blue yonder!

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While I build the charcoal heat source, my students take a partner quiz that covers the main ideas of the project.  They get to use their notes, and their partner, as references so it is not too stressful for them.

What end of year activities do you do with your students?


Day 177: Balloon Factory

My precalculus students are continuing their balloon building for the next couple of days.  Most pairs have determined their equation and are on their way to creating their gore pattern from their calculations.

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In addition, they are gluing together their tissue paper panels so that when they complete their gore pattern, they can cut out their balloon pieces.  My students are having a great time and using their time very judiciously.  YAY!

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Day 176: PBL Balloons

I’m not sure this project fits the entire criteria of a project-based learning (PBL) experience, but it sure contains a lot of them!  For instance, most sites discussing PBL suggest that students have a voice and choice in completing the project, that it emphasizes 21st century and technology skills and that there be an essential or critical question to be answered.

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Volker Ulm (2011) suggests:

Enriching classroom teaching with projects is certainly the most challenging, but at the same time the most beneficial form of independent learning. It is challenging because it requires high-level skills on the part of the students, e.g. skills in applying methods, self-management, and social competence. So project-based learning should never degenerate into a teacher-centered training course where ultimately the teacher still does all the planning, structuring and organizing, prepares and procures all the materials, or even produces and presents the results. (p. 44)

Through this added lens, I’m not convinced this project is truly a PBL experience because I did structure the work somewhat by giving them charts to fill in to eventually build the gores of the hot air balloons.  This makes me wonder if I can simply ask my students to determine a process for designing the pattern rather than walking them through some of the essential steps.  To create the process, students would need to understand the idea of solids of revolution and the disc method for finding area under a curve….much beyond the scope of precalculus.  Some things to ponder, for sure!

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But in other respects, this project requires the students to be independent (if they ask me a question for which they can find the answer somewhere else, they are docked 5 points…worked like a charm!) and resourceful.  They needed to use previous skills and concepts to design the cross-section of a balloon within two constraints (at x = 0, y= 1.5 and the largest x: 12 < x <13, y = 0).  No other directions are given, so the students need to think about what cross-section shape they need.  They have to manage their time from start to finish with little guidance except the day the balloons need to be ready to fly.

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Day 173: Facilitated Learning through the Infographics Project

Today I saw my students really begin to collect data in a variety of ways: from the internet, surveys, data collection.  Their directions for today were:

Complete data displays

Complete data collection

Continue to work on inference analysis

Continue to work on designing Infographic

I am so thankful for the Piktochart blog support!  Once again, I provided my kiddos resources but didn’t actually tell them how to do things.  What is so great about this project so far is how empowered my students seem to be.  The quality of their efforts won’t be visible until next week, but I am confident that they are taking the project seriously!

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One of the nice things about this project is it falls right into our district’s 21st Century vision for Facilitated Learning: Collaborative and Independent Application.  In particular, I see this project doing the following

  1. Collaborative Learning
    1. Students demonstrate analysis, evaluation and synthesis: Stating a main question and devising supporting questions, then using data collection and analysis to answer the questions, and finally using an infographic to synthesis their results into an understandable whole that answers their question.
    2. Students work collaboratively: YES…you can see it in the photos and hear it in the classroom.  So much good discussion, analysis and revision goin’ on!
    3. Students perform non-routine tasks such as interpreting, evaluating and creating: isn’t that what creating an quality infographic does?
  2. Independent Application
    1. Self, peer and others evaluate the student’s work with public audiences and authentic assessments:  although this isn’t met very well this year (due to the crunch of time to get the project organized for the first time), I hope to have the students help devise the identifiers of the components in the rubric as well as actually post their infographic and have their peers evaluate, perhaps using a google doc (see what was done by Joel Evans and Bob Lochel).
    2. Students take responsibility for their own learning: absolutely!  I provided some links to support possible questions students might have, but they have done a wonderful job of taking initiative and answering their own questions about the technology, and finding the data.
    3. Students independently practice advanced skills: since part of the project is to create graphics and do inference analysis, my young statisticians have had to do a lot of graph making followed with exploratory data analysis, write survey questions that aren’t biased and conduct a variety of inference procedures until they decided which one they wanted to use on their infographic.
    4. Students perform extended blocks of authentic and multidisciplinary work: at least the authentic work over a long period of independent time is met.  How might the multidisciplinary component be woven into this project?  Should it? What benefits and possible pitfalls are there to having students chose the connection to another discipline?

All in all, I’m happy so far with this first attempt at the infographic idea.  What fresh, new idea have you tried recently and what was your inspiration?

Day 172: Visualizing Data

This is the second day of the AP Stats Infographic project.  Below are the directions I gave at the beginning of the class with some links to help the students think about the data presentation as well as infographic organization.  Piktochart blog has some great supporting documents

Determine data that will answer your questions.  Then decide how you will display the data: dotplot, histogram, boxplot, etc.  Also determine the descriptive parameters of the population of interest.

I am so thrilled with how engaged my seniors are.  Although Piktochart App does not play will with the iPads, I was able to secure a computer cart.  Working like a charm!


Day 171: Infographics Project Starting

I am soooooo excited.  Today my AP Stats students start their end-of-year project.  I just love to see how everything comes together for them.  Every year I try a new medium in which they complete the project and as I posted earlier, this year students will present their results in an infographic.

I spent some time with a social studies colleague of mine who did infographics with her freshman.  She shared some best practices she gained when doing the project with her students.  One of the key shares was that she had her students use Piktochart as the free medium for actually creating the infographic.


It is easy to use, entering or importing data is easy, there are pre-made templates and once the infographic is complete, it can be made into a slideshow presentation so my students don’t need to create a powerpoint to present their findings.

piktochart presentation


As part of the set-up I had two basic guidelines:

Ask and Answer an Intellectually Interesting Question

For the first part of your application project, your pair will describe a particular problem that can be addressed through the primary statistical techniques we are studying this year—namely, confidence intervals and hypothesis testing, and linear regression.

  • Determine an intellectually Interesting Question and at least 5 supporting questions
  • Identify the population of interest, needed sample size, etc.
  • Design an unbiased survey/method to collect data that answers your question
  • Collect the data (you will hand in the raw data collected)
  • Analyze question using statistical inference

And then:

Creating the Infographic

You should use appropriate data visualizations and other visual elements (colors, shapes, lines, typography, whitespace, and so on) in ways that enhance your infographic’s potential for communicating your work on the project. Your infographic can be any size or shape, but it must be of sufficient resolution to display well on the course blog.  Your infographic should be designed so as to make sense to a fellow student in an AP Statistics course.  Thus, you may assume that your audience is familiar with the material we have covered together as a class this year.

  • Keep in mind that the central idea of the study should be prominent feature of the poster.
  • Infographic Title should be informative
  • Use statistical principles studied in this course: data displays, numerical analysis, inference and decisions (interpret p-value)
  • Reveal data at several levels of detail, from a broad overview (at a distance) to the fine structure (closer inspection reveals more intricate information).
  • Use supporting questions to guide how to display various aspects of your data to convince audience
  • Graphic’s legend should clearly match to the graph
  • Results of inference for main question as culminating evidence: connects statistical results to the context of the problem.
  • Harmonious and strategic use of color and design elements. No trivial or extraneous information, etc.

I am using  to collect information from the students about their partner choices, their main and supporting questions, hypotheses, data collection methods, etc.  More to come in the following days!

google forms

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