Purposeful statistical investigation merged with K-6 content: Variability, learning, and teacher knowledge use in teaching.

Proceedings of the third international research forum on statistical reasoning, thinking, and literacy.
Mickelson, W. & Heaton, R.
Lee, C.

Pfannkuch (1997) contends that variation is a critical issue throughout the statistical inquiry process, from posing a question to drawing conclusions. This is particularly true for K-6 teachers when they attempt to use the process of statistical investigation as a means of teaching and learning across the spectrum of the K-6 curricula. In this context statistical concepts and ideas are taught and learned in conjunction with the important content area ideas and concepts. For a K-6 teacher, this means that the investigation must not only be planned in advance, but also aimed at being responsive to students. The potential for surprise questions, unanticipated responses and unintended outcomes is high, and teachers need to "think on their feet" statistically and react immediately in ways that accomplish content objectives, as well as convey correct statistical principles and reasoning. The intellectual demands in this context are no different than in other instances where teachers are trying to teach for understanding (i.e., Cohen, McLaughlin, & Talbert, 1993; Ma, 1999).