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Introduction to Data Collection (Lesson 4.1)

Chapter 4 - Day 2

Learning Targets
  • Distinguish statistical questions from other types of questions.

  • Identify the population and sample in a statistical study.

  • Distinguish between an observational study and an experiment.

Activity: What is a Statistical Question?

Experience First

Today’s activity includes a card sort. You could prepare these ahead of time by cutting them out (we do different colored paper for each set and get them laminated) or you can have students cut them out as part of the activity. Students will be given a list of questions and be asked to split them into two general categories. You do NOT have to tell them the difference between statistical questions and non-statistical questions before the activity starts. This leaves the task more open-ended and students have to come up with their own rules for their two categories.


Alternatively, you could provide students with 1 example of a statistical question and 1 example of a non-statistical question and have them go from there.


Statistical question: How many hours of sleep did students from this class get last night?

Non-statistical question: What is the mascot for the University of Michigan? 

Formalize Later

Notice that the 2nd and 3rd learning target are not covered in the activity. This means that you must use the Check Your Understanding problem to discuss population versus sample and observational study versus experiment. 


Notice that the rest of the chapter is organized by this distinction between an observational study and an experiment. Lessons 4.2 to 4.4 are about observational studies and lessons 4.5 to 4.7 are about experiments. 

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