Research-based guidance and classroom activities for teachers of mathematics

How Faithful is Old Faithful?

This link is to a PDF of a paper by Shaughnessy and Pfannkuch. It adds to the scenario described in the book by providing detail about how the data was used to focus on variation and prediction. It provides a rich description of how student’s statistical thinking might be challenged and developed through exploring authentic data. The data are provided in an appendix.

Teachers need to encourage their students to focus on distribution and patterns in data, rather than on individual pieces of data. This story demonstrates how the data can be misinterpreted when too strong a focus on average fails to reveal the patterns in the data, which in this case are cyclic.

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