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Scatter Plots in Statistics for Struggling Students

Statistics are part of our lives and therefore an important skill for students to learn.   The goal of this unit is to explain and explore scatter plots in a way that is both engaging and informative to eighth grade students.  With the transition to the Common Core Curriculum, there is a renewed focus on designing lessons that connect mathematics to real life situations.  This unit will help middle school teachers introduce and teach scatter plots to their students in a way that meets the new educational standards and engages students.  I have tried parts of the unit with my own class and the students not only learned but they enjoyed themselves. 

The unit is designed for ninety-minute class periods, but it can be adjusted for shorter class periods.  There are five units in all.  Students will start by learning how to read and interpret scatter plots.  Then students will read and interpret a newspaper article called “Does this Ad Make Me Fat” by C. Matters and D. Simons, which discusses whether a correlation exists between fast food ads and obesity.  The unit will conclude by having the students gathering their own data, creating a scatter plot, and then interpreting their findings. 

Kathleen McCullough

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