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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.

Day 41: Infographic about Me

I became interested them last year on Pinterest and I  had last year’s AP Statistics students present their final projects via an infographic using  After last year’s experience, I decided to do my NWMC session on Infographics.  As a result, I did a lot of research into what it takes to incorporate infographics into the classroom. gives good initial information and the I came upon Derek Bruff’s blogs regarding how he had his college Intro to Statistics class create infographics as their final project. And I believe my presentation was well received!

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I am planning to incorporate Josh Wilkerson’s Community Service Learning Project in my AP Statistics class this year.  One of the things I hope to have students do for the non-profit organization is create an infographic.   In order for my students to be skilled in planning and creating informative, statistically based infographics they need to practice.  I thought a mini-project that covers the first AP Theme: Describing Data would be in order and an infographic would be a great vehicle for presenting their results.  They will be creating an infographic about themselves: How do you fit in the world of data? Your task is to design an infographic to tell a story about yourself through the use of relevant statistics. Your infographic should present a visual, data based representation of YOU.

So last week, I had students do this in a online discussion post:

Use a Google search to find examples of well-designed infographics.

  1. Pick one that especially resonates with you and that no one else has posted yet.  Save the image.
  2. Below, post least 2-3 reasons you feel your chosen infographic was effective. (make sure your chosen infographic is unique – that it, it has not already been submitted by someone else)
  3.  Attach it to your post using the file button.
  4. Finally, look at the other infographics posted.  Pick at least one that you like and post an additional, different reason you think it is effective.

I posted an example to get you started, although I would prefer that you look at and comment on your classmates submissions rather than mine

I handed out the project outline. And then, as Derek did, I gave them half of the rubric that covers the statistical requirements, but a blank rubric for the visual communication.  Students then looked at the posted infographics in groups, thinking about what makes them visually impactful.  Some of their ideas included visual appeal, use of words, use of design elements, organization, use of color.


Over the next two days, they will submit, via a Google form, their ideas for the components of visual communication as well as the descriptors for 4 = excellent, 3 = good, 2 = acceptable, 1 = poor for their component.  Then we’ll compile their suggestions and they will have created the second half of the rubric.  A great way to get student voice into the evaluation process in a math classroom, right?

Day 183: Thankfulness for Grateful Students

It is these simple, heart-felt notes that make my year so worth it!  Can you see the tears bubbling up in my eye sockets?!   I cherish these notes and have a file that I save the few I get every year so I can read them when I need a pick-up on a particularly challenging day. Can you see the tears bubbling up in my eye sockets?!

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I hope all of you get those special notes every year; I think they are worth so much more than the box of chocolates.  Don’t get me wrong, I love chocolate but these stay with you for years…I guess the chocolate can to around your waist, but it’s sure hard to tell who gave you which fat cells after a few years 🙂

How do you preserve the happy memories from the year?


Day 166: Real-World Conics

This week-end, after reading through my students’ exit slip answers to this question: What questions do you still have about the three conics we have studied this week, I realized from their comments, that we needed to actually see where conic sections are useful in real life, not just in my “geeky math world.”

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So today we did some applications:

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It was so satisfying to hear students exclaim, “Is that why satellite dishes have that funny thing sticking out beyond the dish?! and “I see how the ellipses foci actually show up in real life!”  The most precious comment was “oh, that makes so much sense now!”

Day 113: Musical Chair Identities

Needed a fun way to do some focused practice on the Trigonometric Angle Addition and Subtraction Identities in precalculus today.  So the Musical Chairs strategy came to mind.  Had my students move the big desks out of the way and used just a few of them to make tables that the 8 kids could walk around them.  I created eight versions of a worksheet I created with Ultimate Algebra 2 by Kuta Software and color-coded them.  I searched YouTube to get some teenager-friendly tunes and had them suggest a couple songs as well.

I played the music for approx 20-30 seconds as the kids walked around the tables (you can see the smiles on their faces, huh?!).  When the music stopped, they worked the problem #1 on the sheet in front of them.  Once most seemed finished, I started the countdown and then started the music again; interestingly, if a student didn’t finish, as they passed the paper, they continued to work the incomplete problem…without me even suggesting it.  I repeated the process with the kids working #2, then #3, etc. on which ever sheet was in front of them.

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When we finished the 8 problems, I had them walk one more time and then check/correct a couple of problems on the sheet in front of them.  General consensus after the experience was that the practice in this way helped them become fluid and confident in their ability to apply the angle addition identities.  And there was singing to the tunes along the way!  Fun experience for all and EVERYONE actually did 8 practice problems!  Whoo-hoo.  How do you build in skill drill in a fun way?

Day 59: Probability Review Stations


With next week being a short week because of Thanksgiving and because of the rousing success of the Review Stations in the last chapter, which did result in overall better performance, I am putting together another set of Review Stations for probability with answers.  This time it didn’t take quite as long.  I also used the students’ suggestion that there be fewer questions at each station, so I’ll let you know how it goes.

I must say, though, that the time it takes to think up, create and then actually produce activities is beginning to takes its toll.  I am really looking forward to having these created for next year, so all I have to do is pull them out and make tweaks as needed.  I believe student engagement is the only way to ensure the vast majority of students grappling with and then gaining understanding of important “stuff.”  I am so glad caffeine was invented in a drinkable form!

Day 44: Using Opener Problems and Exit Questions


As I stated earlier, I use openers to assess student understanding and retention and exit questions to provide students a means to summarize their learning and emotional state in a (at least I think) fun way. I asked my students to write an AP Stats acronym to summarize the ideas of Sampling and Experimental design.  I particularly like the unsolicited comment!

Day 43: Sit-Stand


This week is about giving students lots of experiences with experimental designs while also setting them up for Inference later this year.  Today during block class we did the Sit-Stand Activity that was originally presented in Key Curriculum’s Statistics in Action.  I modified the activity to upload to their iPads in order to record results: APS 4.2 – SitStandActivity blog form.  I wanted to have students determine and describe the random assignment method, determine the data to collect and the statistic to calculate, actually calculate the statistic and draw the experimental design.  I also used SnapTimer, a free timer I found on the web.

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