The Key to Teaching Statistics Through Music

Presented by
Alexandra Foran & Dianne Goldsby (Texas A&M University)

The presentation will demonstrate the use of music to introduce beginning statistics topics, using an "oldie but goodie" song. The demonstration illustrates how to engage students actively in counting, frequency tables, and graphs - counting words, phrases or musical beats; recording these; and creating graphs to display the generated data. Then, the activity examines using a more recent song appropriate for grade levels 6 – 10 (depending on course set-up) or pre-service teachers to create a frequency table and graph of the data. The participants can also examine and design an assessment rubric for the activity. In the classroom the activity can be expanded to have students use a web site to determine number of albums sold by a specific group and determine the mean and standard deviation and to determine common musical themes and then compare occurrences of these themes by various groups. The session will focus on the use of music to introduce statistics in a non-traditional and engaging manner - reasons to use music, possible topics to explore through music and song selection considerations.