Students’ Expressions of Uncertainty in Making Informal Inference when Engaged in a Statistical Investigation using Tinkerplots

Ana Henriques and Hélia Oliveira

This paper reports on the results of a study investigating the potential to embed Informal Statistical Inference in statistical investigations, using TinkerPlots, for assisting 8th grade students’ informal inferential reasoning to emerge, particularly their articulations of uncertainty. Data collection included students’ written work on a statistical investigation as well as audio and screen records. Results show students’ ability to draw conclusions based on data, recognizing that these are constrained by uncertainty, and to use them to make inferences. However, few students used probabilistic language for describing their generalizations. These results highlight the need for working on probabilistic ideas within statistics, helping students to evolve from a deterministic perspective of inference to include uncertainty in their statements.