By Dennis Pearl and Glenn Johnson (The Pennsylvania State University)
If we want learning to persist in meaningful ways, regular engagement and relevance are two key ingredients. This poster will describe a process by which one course in elementary statistics uses short engaging activities to introduce and provide context for the concepts being presented that week. On Poll Monday students take part in a data collection activity to which they provide a quick response, for example “go to how-old.net and have the software guess your age with your eyes open and then also when you are squinting – then record the difference between the machine’s guess and your real age in both cases” (smiling versus not smiling, and with sunglasses versus without sunglasses are part of the same Poll Monday). On Thinking Tuesday a follow up question, asks students to make a conjecture or provide a response about the Monday information gathered. For example “What are the null and alternative hypothesis statements if you are interested in the question: “Does squinting make you look older?” “Does smiling make you look younger?” and “Does wearing sunglasses fool the machine?” On Results Wednesday the instructor provides a commentary, which not only reveals any answers, but also ties the activity to the concepts for that week. The process is semi-automated in that questions are presented using Google Forms (they were designed to be used in an online course). Response data is easy to collect over different course sections and even over semesters to create ever larger datasets for exploration and demonstration in other course work. Participants who engage with the poster will come away with a complete set of 12 activities that engage students in introductory statistical concepts as well as ideas for how to incorporate this into their own technology infrastructure regardless of class type or size.