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Journal Questions and Rationale

The journals will be used to assess student learning through teacher annotations, meaningful
feedback. The questions provided are open enough so that student answers will vary and provide
them with an opportunity to research and think creatively about the question asked. The learning
skill of organization will be gauged by how answers are presented and written; this is also a literacy
cross-curricular connection. Mathematical processes are developed in each question.
The following questions are organized into course themes and require students to write a journal
response.
Topic: What are the odds?
1. Should you buy lottery tickets? Please explain.
This question has students explore the odds of winning the lottery, a connection to
everyday life. From what they find, students are asked to reflect and communicate their
findings. This question serves as an interesting application to probability and can be used
early in the course to capture interest.
2. How do games rely on probability?
Here students can choose to explore cards games, board games, tv game shows, etc. to
determine the odds of winning/landing on a number/card. Students will learn that
probability plays a large role in games and sports, and can range from the simple rolling of
die to complicated algorithms in sports analysis. This involves students making
connections and communicating their mathematical thinking through writing.
3. What is the same and what is different about permutations and combinations?
This question has students representing mathematical ideas through a comparison. It gives
the teacher the opportunity to check that these concepts are clear.
Topic: What is normal?
1. How are binomial, hypergeometric, and normal distributions related? How are they
different?
Students will be making connections between the distributions they will see in class. It is
important to recognize the similarities and differences between them to develop a
relational understanding. Students who understand these traits will not only recognize
which type to use when trying to solve a problem, but will also know why they are using
that distribution instead of another. This question is important so students arent only
learning the instrumental procedure associated with these types of questions, but instead
are able to compare and contrast different models.
2. Why do we use the normal distribution? Where is it used?

The normal distribution is very important in statistics and can model many natural
occurrences. This questions has students communicating thinking using mathematical
vocabulary and making connections that relate this mathematical idea to real world
phenomena.
Topic: How do we get data?
1. When you see a statistic in the news/media/commercials, what questions should you ask
yourself about its reliability? Please explain.
This question highlights that statistics can be misleading and that factors including how
data was collected, how the study was carried out and sample size, can vitally impact a
statistics reliability. Lessons around this topic can address Type I and Type II errors as well.
This has students reflecting on their understanding of good practices.
2. How do we collect reliable data? Please explain.
This has students communicating with mathematical vocabulary such as sample,
population, and bias.

Topic: What do I do with all these numbers?


1. If two variables have a high correlation, do they depend on each other? How do you know?
This question addressing a common misconception in statistics, concluding that since two
variables have a high correlation they must be dependent on or cause one another. After
students reason and communicate their thinking, this misconception can be addressed in
lessons to come through the use of interesting examples.
2. Make a connected chain from probability, mean, normal distribution, correlation, linear
This has students draw connections between mathematical ideas presented in the course,
increasing their overall understanding of how everything is related or different.
Topic: How do I carry out a statistical investigation?
1. What makes a good research question? Find at least two topics you are interested in and
write a research question for each.
This question helps guides students through some thinking for the report they will need to
create by the end of the course. It has them pose problems before conducting their
investigation, developing problem solving skills.
2. What are some limitations to conclusions drawn from statistical analysis? Why?

This has students reflect and judge the reasonableness of results and assess the methods
used. Ideas including inherent variability, the true mean, and inability to test an entire
population can be incorporated.