Robert Lochel, Hatboro-Horsham High School
The Advanced Placement Statistics curriculum contains many natural opportunities for students to demonstrate their understanding through projects. In my course, students complete three major projects during the year: an “old wives’ tale” experimental design project, a casino game design project, and a final comprehensive project after the AP exam in May. Balancing my desire to have students think critically and creatively about a research question, while providing some structure to help students reach clear assessment targets, isn’t always easy. Here are some suggestions for helping teachers design project-based learning experiences.
… this was a “what if” we could have avoided by clearly defining each stage of the project before collecting data.
Dianna J. Spence – University of North Georgia
Student-directed projects have been a staple of my introductory statistics course for several years, as I want students to learn statistical inquiry through authentic experience. By “student-directed” I mean that the student (or team of 2-3) crafts a research question, defines appropriate variables, collects data, and identifies and uses the correct statistical analysis to address their question. I don’t give the students a list of topics to choose from; I want them to come up with topics based on their interests, and to come up with all of the supporting details.
Here’s how I have organized the course to use both SBI and projects, and how I modified the projects themselves to leverage the benefits that SBI brought to the course.
Todd Swanson – Hope College
I’ve had students complete projects in my introductory statistics course for at least 20 years. My expectations, requirements, and outcomes have evolved much over this time including how the data are gathered, what type of data I allow to be gathered, and how the project is presented. Things that were acceptable years ago are not acceptable now. The projects have become more and more like real research and the move in this direction has certainly been aided by using a simulation-based curriculum.
Projects now reflect the real research studies that we explore in class every day.