Entry 32 – Statistics & Gender

Well the last week of learning new content has come to a close.  We’ll be reviewing in all classes next week and then finals week.

PRE-ALGEBRA

My students are just about done with their statistics project that I talked about last week.  Got a lot of positive feedback.  It was really one of the best ways to do this content as it really isn’t hard to learn mean, median, mode, and range, nor is it too complex to learn how to do a box plot or histogram, just the process of watching a video of someone go through it and then doing it.

One thing that I think I’ll change is that when they found the mean, median, mode, and range, I wanted them to ask an analyzing question about it and then answer that question (something like ‘why is the mean so significantly higher than the median’ or ‘if this is the mean of how many tacos students have eaten this year, how many are students eating each month on average’ or really anything along those lines).  It was difficult to explain to students what I was looking for so I changed it to ‘what observations are you making about the data and what are you curious about.’  Most of them were able to do something with that.

They were to notate gender on their survey and then compare the results between the genders.  I work at a pretty progressive school and was anticipating some students seeing that as a negative; sort of a ‘what does it matter’ kind of thing.  We explored a few of these ideas:

  • I talked about correlation vs causation – ie. more girls at tacos…but is that because they’re girls or is it just a correlation.
  • We discussed analyzing if the correlations we did find could really hold weight based on the way we gathered the data – ie. people were just giving estimates of how many tacos they ate and maybe girls just overestimated what they were eating and guys were underestimating).
  • And we also talked about ways we can use statistics for social justice – ie. how trends show that very few women study computer science in college.  Is that because women are less interested?  Is it because computer science programs are discriminating against women?  Is it because women who are interested don’t want to enter into a male-saturated industry?  We talked about many of the initiatives taking place to empower and encourage women to get into the field of computer science.

MATH SKILLS

I was realizing that I covered nearly three less units this year in Math Skills.  That’s discouraging.  I have a few thoughts on why.  Our fractions unit was beastly.  I sort just stretched it out because that big math exhibition project we did was going to be a fractions unit for students, but we kind of finished the unit about a week before the big math exhibition work was supposed to start.  I didn’t want to start a new unit so I sort of just dragged out those last lessons to fill that week.  Then the math exhibition project was about two weeks long.  So that was nearly three weeks more than what was needed.

The classroom economy this year was more time consuming for the 6th graders.  I introduced the budgeting aspect and my 7th graders took to it pretty well but man, my 6th graders would take nearly half a class period to do what my 7th graders were able to do in 15 minutes when it came to setting up and working with their budget.  Halfway through the second semester, I made the budgeting part optional for the 6th graders.

I guess I’ll venture more into this in my year-end review blog.

This week we finished up our ratios unit.  They struggled a bit with the percents.  Kept forgetting how to turn something like 4.5% into 0.045.  I tried to avoid saying JUST MOVE THE DECIMAL OVER TWO SPOTS!  I also taught them how to find the percentage of a number by using decimals (30 * 0.15), fractions (30 * 15/100), and mental math (10% of 30 is 3 and 5% is 1.5 so 3 + 1.5 = 4.5).  Perhaps the plethora of methods just confused them.

I think that’s about it for now!  Here’s to the final stretch 🙂

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