This year, the 7th and 8th grade students taking the second course of Algebra 1 are working together. The current unit is one of basic statistics. The students began the week by working in groups to compare test grades of four different hypothetical classes. The first part of the project asked the students to calculate the basic statistics for their list of scores. Then, they had to create both a histogram and a box-and-whisker plot representing the different statistics they found. Next, the students were asked to summarize their statistics and graphical displays of the information. Last, the students were asked to enter their values into a table and compare their data to the other groups. Some students walked around to other groups in order to accurately compare their graphs.
The students worked well together and were able to determine that 3 of the 4 “classes” had statistics quite close to one another. The information the students determined was displayed on a poster.
The second half of the week, the 7th and 8th grade students in the same class continued to expand their ability to apply basic statistics by learning about scatter plots and trend lines. Again, they worked in small groups to display information that they worked together to find. The first step was to create a scatter plot based on the data in the problem they were assigned. The data presented information relating test scores, TV time, and percent of homework completed.
This was a shorter assignment in which they had to create a scatter plot based on the pair of data they were assigned to compare. Once this scatter plot was created, they had to find the equation of the line and determine various values based on the graph. The final piece was for the students to again summarize their findings into a short paragraph. They used the questions based on the graph and equation to put their summaries together. The concluding piece for all groups was to determine if the values they had to find were examples of interpolation or extrapolation. There were lively discussions surrounding the definitions of these terms and how their data related to each.
The students will continue with their statistics unit next week, incorporating the graphing calculator into their work. They will continue to learn how to apply these concepts to real-world situations by working together as well as independently.