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Introduction to Data Collection

Chapter 3 - Day 2 - Lesson 3.1

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: Which questions are statistical?
Answer Key:

We began this chapter by looking at the different types of questions and evaluating if they are statistical or not.  We liked this activity because students can work on it without any input from the teacher.  There are no confusing definitions or instructions.  It’s very simple yet gets the job done.  To decide if a question is statistical, students should ask themselves, “Do the answers vary?” If they do, it is statistical.  If they do not, it is not statistical.   You could work through the first two examples with the class if you would like, but again, it’s very straight forward.  The students should then cut out the sample questions and sort them.  They can glue or tape them in the proper columns.

As an extension, students could create their own questions.  They could also change the sample questions to make them statistical or non-statistical.


Students had no issues deciphering between the types of questions.  The only time students got them wrong on the assessments was when they switched the definition.  For example, one student said, “It is statistical because there is only one answer.”  This shows the student can decide whether or not the answers will vary, which is the most important part, but they have forgotten what type of question that makes it.

The activity does not address the second or third learning targets.  We had students read through the text and annotate.  We also made sure to add key definitions and examples in our notes of populations, samples, observational studies and experiments.  Below is a student response from one of the quizzes by one of our senior boys.  The Beyonce fans out there will get a kick out of it.  

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