Using students' statistical thinking to inform instruction
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This study designed and evaluated a teaching experiment in data exploration for second grade students. A research-based framework that incorporated a description of elementary students' statistical thinking on four constructs and across four levels of thinking informed the hypothetical learning trajectory for the teaching experiment. Qualitative evidence from four target students revealed that: (a) experiences with different kinds of data reduced children's idiosyncratic descriptions; (b) categorical data were more problematic than numerical data; (c) technology stimulated and influenced children's thinking in relation to organizing and representing data; (d) children displayed multifaceted conceptual knowledge of center and spread; and (e) children's contextual knowledge was a key factor in being able to analyze and interpret data. By the end of the intervention, the class data as a whole showed that at least 84% of the students was exhibiting Level 2 thinking or better on all constructs, i.e., they were no longer exhibiting idiosyncratic thinking.
Journal of Mathematical Behavior