Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Stats and Kids!

On Sat. afternoon last week, I took my 7 year old daughter to the library to volunteer for the River Bend Math Center. We had such a great time, and learned alot in the meantime! There were 3 activities that we participated in, one included a beach ball globe, another with letters, and the 3rd using M&M's these items don't sound much like what would be used to teach statistics but nonetheless, they provided great interactive opportunities for the kids's to learn from. One of the most impressive things to me, was that we had some participants that weren't kids but instead had some learning disability so that these activities were fun and a great way to learn something new even for adult/young adults. I met several nice kids and older people too, one adult woman really impressed me. She was very intelligent but struggled a bit socially or developmenatally, and she was just amazing during the beach ball experiment.
The idea was to learn with repeated sampling that we could get accurate and consistent results. The participant was told that the earth was made up of 75% water, then they were asked to hold up their pointer finger and I tossed the ball to them, wherever their pointer finger landed they said either, "land or water". Someone else recorded the results and after about 10 tosses, we looked at the results to determine if their fingers landed more often on land or water, The results showed that most times for obvious reasons they landed on water, and then the participants gave their ideas about why that happened. Well, the woman I mentioned would also comment on the land that her pointed to, and taught us a bit of geography!
My daughter was writing down fractions, and talking about proportions while using M&M's! Another young man had fun interviewing people about the spelling of their name, then using paper cut out letters he spelled each name and determined the mean, median, and mode for the number of letters his sample of names had! These were kids' doing statistics! It was so much fun, and a great way to fun while learning.

1 comment:

kimlynch said...

Latasha, first let me say it was great getting to know you better at this event and meeting your daughter. You made a great point about these activities being great for adults with developmental disabilities. I think it just goes to show you that these concepts can be learned by anyone if presented in the right way. I agree with you that making math and statistics fun takes the fear out of it and helps children to develop math confidence. Somehow a lot of us lose that confidence to do math as we get older and when we have take statistics, it can be scary.