MTBoS blogging initiative, week 3! This week’s topic is better questions.
Kiri Dillon (@) and I have spent some time looking at ways to develop our students statistical insight – that is, how to encourage them to be deeper statistical thinkers.
Briefly what I mean… Here’s a sample of weekly income by gender.
Most of our students have got reasonably good at describing what they SEE in the samples, the median weekly income of these males is about $300 higher than the median weekly income of these females etc. But what questions or prompts can we give students to encourage them to think beyond just what they are seeing? Why might we be seeing this big difference in gender? Were we expecting this? What other variables might help explain this? What else might be going on? … Which might lead them to exploring things like:
which shows that the hours worked per week is also important.
And the best questions we have found to get the students thinking further are the simple ones…
And then just repeating them to students (you know, like your annoying five year old that just wants to know more and more and more and more…) It works surprisingly well.