MDM4U Introduction to Statistics; Measures of Central Tendency 2016-05-02


I tried to have several discussions with you today about statistics, how we use them to make sense of the world, and how they can be misreported in the media and elsewhere. I didn’t get much participation from you, which was disappointing.

I played an audio clip of a neurologist speaking with friends about a badly-reported science news item. I didn’t get much participation from you, which was disappointing.

So I reviewed the three measures of central tendency that you’re familiar with: mean, median, and mode. I wanted to talk about when each one is useful, and when it’s not. To do this I tried using a visual on the projector. I didn’t get much participation from you, which was disappointing.

I assigned page 133 #1-4 for homework. A bunch of you got busy right away, typing values into your calculator to answer the questions. Honestly, this disappointed me too, in the context of the rest of the period.

You’re not here to “do school”. You’re here to develop skills and learn to think critically. Calculating medians is not a way to develop your brain. Completing tasks is not the point.

I need you to be able to analyze, interpret, draw conclusions, and make decisions based on data. Any spreadsheet can calculate medians, but Excel can’t tell you whether three minutes of exercise is enough each week or whether e-cigarettes are a good thing.

I want what’s best for each of you, and that means actual learning, not just task completion. If there’s something you need in this class to make that happen and I’m not providing it, I need you to tell me. Today didn’t work, and I don’t want a repeat performance tomorrow. None of us does, I hope. Help me out.

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