Statistics in high school?!

Have you joined in to celebrate the International Year of Statistics? If not, you might be surprised to learn some of the interesting ways being shared for how statistics touches our lives every day.  Statistics is fun! Don't just take my word for it.  This week we are delighted to feature Ruth Ann Chan, a Math and Statistics teacher at Riverside High School in Durham. Ruth Ann is passionate about statistics and thinks students should be too!

Ruth Ann shares her thoughts on Statistics....

RuthAnnChanStatistics is an exciting field.  Inundated by media in this age, we are constantly surrounded by statistics—from news and advertisements to nutrition facts and college information.  Are all statistics true? How do people even come up with statistics? Those are some of the questions we begin to answer in a high school statistics course.

While some think that statistics may be easier than calculus, the traditional pinnacle of high school mathematics, statistics also requires hard work, a lot of reading and writing, careful reasoning, and perhaps even a completely new way of thinking.  Moreover, understanding statistics prepares students for the real world, filled with tricky arguments, complicated controversies, and suspicious claims.

Nearly every college major, from psychology to political science, business to biology, has a statistics requirement.  Beginning to develop a strong foundation in statistics in high school allows students to enter college more prepared for their peers, or even enable them to surpass intro-level classes and have more opportunities to take more advanced and specialized courses.  Aside from the academic benefits, statistics knowledge equips any person to be a wise consumer, informed voter, and globally-minded citizen.

Beyond the many benefits of a statistics course, statistics is inherently interesting and often entertaining.  Every problem is incredibly relevant.  For example, are you as fast as the average runner with your height and weight? Oh, should we also take age into account? Who is the “average runner” anyways – how can we find him and find information about him?  How will we justify and communicate our answers to these questions? This is statistics!

Thanks Ruth Ann!

If you haven't joined in on the celebration, what are you waiting for?  Check out the International Year of Statistics web site to find great resources for teachers and students.  You can also see how SAS is celebrating the International Year of Statistics.

 

tags: k-12, statistics, stem

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