Category Archives: 09. Including simulation-based methods in my high-school classroom/AP Statistics classes

Reflections after two years of simulation-based inference in AP statistics

Andy WalterAndrew Walter, Shawnee Mission East High School

I am in my second year of implementing simulation-based methods, and I’m thrilled with how it has enhanced my AP Statistics course. My struggles teaching the course are probably familiar to others, and include: difficultly teaching vocabulary, difficulty spiraling review topics, and difficulty helping students grasp some of the key topics in ways that indicate true understanding. Using the simulation-based inference methods throughout the school year has helped me address all of these concerns and more. I will briefly explain how I use this method in my class, and then comment specifically about how it has helped.

Simulation activities are a perfect way to blend “hands-on” learning with using technology.

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How do I use simulation-based methods to enhance student understanding of AP Statistics

Bob PetersonBob Peterson, Mona Shores High School, Muskegon, Michigan

I love statistics!!  I have been teaching for 25 years, and in 2003, when I got the opportunity to develop an AP Statistics class after having been teaching AP Calculus, I jumped at the chance. At that time, I was fortunate enough to participate in a course called INSPIRE, which was run by the stats gurus Allan Rossman, Beth Chance, Roxy Peck and many others. This class was designed for the new AP Stats teacher. Since then I have tried many different ways to help my AP Statistics students gain a deeper understanding of statistics. So, when I learned about the possibility of using simulation-based methods I was immediately excited about a course that could take advantage of tangible hands-on activities, computer simulations and high levels of reasoning. 

…since I have implemented more simulations within my class, students have had an easier time of understanding the hows and whys of the theory-based methods of inference that AP students must master.

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Making the Most of Simulation-Based Inference in an AP Statistics Class

Catherine CaseCatherine Case, University of Florida

My first experience teaching statistics was at the college level, so for my first few years of teaching, I never heard the infamous question, “Can we have a free day?” Now that I teach AP Statistics at a high school, I do hear that question from time-to-time (somewhere between 1 and 1 million times per day), and I need to be prepared with a good answer! Why should they care about what we’re doing in class today? My first goal for each class is to get buy-in from my students, to convince them that statistics is relevant to their lives and we have important, interesting things to accomplish. Simulation-based inference helps me do that. We’re able to draw inferences from real-world data starting on the first day of class, and breaking out spinners, dice, and coins never hurts!

Incorporating simulation-based inference in a high school statistics class presents… opportunities for students to make connections and gain experience with statistical inference throughout the course.

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Using Simulation-Based Inference in AP Statistics

Josh TaborJosh Tabor, Canyon del Oro High School

The AP Statistics course is designed to mimic a traditional college-level introductory statistics class. Students are expected to use z-tests for proportions, t-tests for means and slopes, and chi-square tests for distributions of categorical data. There are at least three good reasons to incorporate simulation-based inference methods in the AP course, however.

Doing these simulations takes time up-front, but helping students understand the logic of inference through simulation saves time in the long-run.

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