Mixed Up Inference


Penny Smeltzer began teaching AP Statistics when the course began and quickly created one of the largest programs in the nation in Austin, Texas. Her passion for the subject continues with decades of experience as an AP Statistics exam grader, grading leader, rubric writer, Test Development Committee member, and Question Leader. Her passion is creating meaningful interdisciplinary lessons with science using topics that matter in the lives of the human population and the planet. Penny presents lively, interactive workshops to teachers in AP Statistics and integrated sessions with Lessons That Matter.


An Activity To Help Students With Inference


Quality inference procedures require an attention to detail that is not always practiced by students. For some, the sheer magnitude of the requirements inspires them to add additional comments that are not helpful or worse yet, incorrect.


To practice determining the requirements for inference, I have created an activity that gives students practice with components that may or may not be necessary for a particular inference question.


Students will be presented with four contexts, each requiring a different inference procedure. Students will also be given the full solution for all four questions, but in a mixed up order. It is the job of the student to figure out which statements go with each inference procedure.

All the resources needed to teach this lesson are located on this page. This link is “behind the scenes” of the Lessons That Matters site so students cannot (or will need to work harder to) access the solutions. Please do not put the link on your website. This link is for teachers only at this time.


Teaching This Lesson to Remote Students

1) Follow this link, click on "Inference Slides", and then "Make a Copy".

2) Rename your copy of the slideshow something like Inference Period 5, 2021

3) Click “Share” to get a link to your slide show. Be sure to change the permissions to “Anyone on the internet with this link can edit”.

3) Present the opening 6 slides to inform students about solar panel efficiency and engage them into the content.

4) Share the link to the Google Slides. Break students into groups and have each group complete one of the four inference slides (slides 7-10).

5) Watch as students build their response.

6) Wrap up with a discussion of each response.


Teaching This Lesson With In-person Students

1) Follow this link, click on "Student Problem Sheet" and print the questions to give to students.

2) Follow this link, click on "Table of Work" and print one for each student. Cut out each of the 39 statements and put them into an envelope.

3) Have students organize the statements into the correct order for each of the four inference questions.


Other options:

  • Note that there is one proportion test, one proportion interval, one interval for means, and one test using means. You could copy the slides you are interested in using and have all groups use the same problem during that lesson, for instance, one proportion z-tests.

  • Add a few copies of the problem slides to the end of the deck for groups that finish early.

  • Have groups that finish early join a group that is struggling.

Lesson That Matter also contains other lessons you may use with your students.

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