Friday, February 19, 2010


Just a bunch of links to news about interesting research.

Check out the news about a Cambridge Peanut Allergy Study.
Giving just a few peanuts to children who were allergic--with medical interventiona available in case a problem occurs--can cause the children to tolerate peanuts.

On public opinion surveys:

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Recommendations for New AP Stat teachers

First things first:
Some sample syllabi for different books:
The Listserv for AP Stat:
If you start with someone else's syllabus, then add those things that will CLEARLY DEMONSTRATE that you are satisfying the requirements (students use calculators and computer output to do everything, they do a lot of descriptive stat and experimental design, they integrate all of the concepts along the way. . .) you should be OK. Don't panic if it takes forever for the course to be approved. Stat is taking a lot longer than most.

Then, the important stuff--recommendations for the new AP Stat teacher:

Attend a Summer Institute Paul Myers at Woodward Academy offers several throughout the summer. I think that Chris Franklin up at UGA will probably be hosting one, too. An institute for beginning teachers is best.

Look though the materials you get at the institute. The publishers load the instructors down with copies of their texts, so you will have copies of just about everything out there.
Learn to do some simple stuff on Fathom, including LSRL and inference procedures. These are much easier than the simulations (which look like sleight of hand). You can do the simulations on the calculator.

Come to the Rock Eagle Conference and join the GAAPMT. Our mini-conference is Friday of the Georgia Math Conference weekend. We plan to have Paul Myers present, we'll share activities, and we'll dissect the free response questions from this year's test.

Plan to attend the one-day conference on teaching and learning in Atlanta. Last year Chris Olsen presented. Dan Yates has presented several times.

Bookmark the AP Listserv and read the postings frequently. Don't "join" unless you want to ask questions because your mailbox will be full!

Here's my blog address: I post info for the kids and they post questions for all of us.

And then, the enduring understandings.
You will be teaching a wide variety of abilities.
Some of your kids will be bored by most of this.
Their parents generally cannot help them (good thing--they think that you use t-procedures for small sample sizes and z for large!!! sooooooo old school.)
Some kids will be rudely awakened to find out that this is not a slacker class.
You will learn something new or refine something you thought you knew almost every day.
You will realize that you are the luckiest teacher in your school to get to teach such a practical, cutting-edge course.
Welcome to the cult.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Website for the audit

Dianna Lossner provided the link she mentioned on Tuesday:

It has good information about the AP Audit and Daren Starnes' syllabus.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Rock Eagle Oct 2006

Remember to attend the Georgia Association of AP Mathematics Teachers' meeting on Friday of the GMC at Rock Eagle. The morning sessions will address AP Audit concerns and topics specific to AP Calc and AP Stat. In the afternoon we will review the exam results and scoring guidelines. Lunch will be provided for all members--join or renew today!

If you would like to recognize someone for their valuable contributions to AP programs in Georgia, please contact me IMMEDIATELY!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Welcome to the Cobb Site

Thank you to Linda Young of the University of Florida for bringing this video to the attention of the AP Stat readers:


Mark your calendars for the Georgia Mathematics Conference on October 19-21, 2006. The Friday meeting of the GA Association of AP Mathematics Teachers will include sessions ALL DAY and a free lunch for members. You can join at the meeting. Topics to be included are the audit, technology, experimental design, and results of the free-response reading. Chris Franklin will be a keynote speaker one evening. Paul Myers will demonstrate Fathom and TinkerPlots on Thursday.

Do you visit the AP Stat Electronic Discussion Group website? You can become a member and get emails every time someone posts to the EDG (listserv), but I don't recommend it. It is more efficient to bookmark the site and visit it frequently.


Last year someone on the listserv proposed the following fun activity for the first day: Compare the numbers of phone numbers programmed into student cell phones. Do boys or girls have more numbers? Seniors or sophomores? Is it fair to make generalizations based on this sample? Is it fair to collect the data first and THEN develop the hypotheses? Is the teacher REALLY going to let us whip out our cell phones or is this a trick?

I have a reputation as a policy-follower, so students were caught off-guard when I ran this investigation last year. For the rest of the year my students (mostly) followed policies.

Got any ideas or questions? Let's make this a valuable hirizontal teaming tool.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Bits and Pieces

Don Slater just forwarded this link:
It is user-friendly and helpful for individual investigations.

Have your kids gone to the Numb3rs website yet? They can register to win a trip to Hollywood AND if they attempt two math problems they can get an extra entry. Contest runs through 3/15/06.

VCR alert: Numb3rs this week is a new episode, but Monk is on at the same time with an episode featuring the F-22, the fighter made at Lockheed in Marietta.

Matched-pairs investigation with cross-curricular connection: Fox News reports that 1 in 5 Americans can name the five members of TV's Simpson family (Marge, Homer, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie, not OJ, Jessica, Ashlee, Joe, etc.), but only 1 in 1000 can name the five freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment (speech, press, establishment of religion, peaceable assembly, and petition the gov't for redress of grievances). I made up little slips (1/6 of a sheet) with the two prompts and five lines each and gave students 90 seconds to complete it. Although the data do not come from a random sample, they are interesting and easy for students to evaluate.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Examples of Questionable Causation

An early AP Statistics practice exam had cricket chirps per minute as the explanatory variable and temperature as the response variable. Does this mean that we might blame the chirping of crickets for global warming?

Perhaps we can investigate whether dead manatees cause powerboat registrations. The two values seem to have a strong, positive linear relationship.

I read somewhere that as teacher salaries in a state increased, so did total liquor sales. Hmmmmmmm.

Going back to global warming, it was recently pointed out that the frequency of pirate attacks is inversely associated with ocean temperatures. Could an increase in pirate attacks spell the beginning of a new ice age?

What other spurious relationships have you found?

Four Correlation Labs

Before students begin to calculate the correlation coefficients or coefficients of determination for sets of bivariate data, they need to recognize general trends and compare the strength of different relationships. Here are four simple lab investigations students can perform within a 54 minute period.

Break the class into 4 productive student groups. Start each group at a different station. This will be the relationship that they will summarize at the end of the lab.

At each station, students will follow the investigation directions and place a tiny sticky tab at the point of a graph which represent their results. Write the results on the sticky tab.

Materials needed: Balls of various sizes, measuring tapes and rulers, a bucket, a very large shoe box marked in inches inside (so the length of a foot can be measured), four posters marked with appropriate axes, one six-sided die.

(1) On a poster with x values 0-31 and y values 0-31, place your mark at the point where x equals the day of the month of your birthday and y represents the number of days left after your birthday in your birth month. Come to a consensus for the number of days in February.

(2) Select a ball from the bucket of balls. Estimate the diameter of the ball by using a ruler. Measure the circumference using the measuring tape. Record the point (estimated diameter, circumference) on the graph. DO NOT USE A CALCULATOR.

(3) Measure the distance from your wrist to your elbow. Measure the length of your foot using markings in the box. Record the ordered pair (length of forearm, length of foot) on the graph.

(4) Throw one die and observe the number of pips showing, n. Toss a ball toward a basket with your non-dominant hand n times, recording the number of baskets made. Repeat using your dominant hand, again recording the number of successes. Record the ordered pair (right hand baskets, left hand baskets) on the graph.

(1) If the class establishes that there are 28 days in February and you have leap year babies in the class it makes for an interesting graph.

(2) As long as the units used remain constant for a ball, we don't care whether you use English or metric measures. If no students bring this up, this makes for a good critical thinking prompt.

(3) I used shoe size in previous years because I didn't want to have kids measuring their feet with my nice measuring tapes, but we thought up this method this year. You might need for the box to be for size 13 shoes.

(4) This investigation underscores the difference between empirical and theoretical values. Perfect skill would result in ordered pairs (1, 1), (2, 2), (3, 3), etc. Variation is a beautiful thing.

After the students have cycled through each station, have the original group describe the relationship between x and y, determine a line of best fit through the data, and investigate the strength of the relationship. Can the proposed relationship be justified or explained?

Please let us know how these labs work out for you.