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November 2008, Volume 102, Issue 4

FEATURES

Probability in Practice: The Case of Turkey Bingo- FREE PREVIEW!
Christopher Danielson, Eric Jenson
A probability situation that arose naturally in a high school and analyzes two technological approaches to its solution.

A Pretty Good Fit
Tim Erickson
We often look for a best-fit function to a set of data. This article describes how a "pretty good" fit might be better than a "best" fit when it comes to promoting conceptual understanding of functions. In a pretty good fit, students design the function themselves rather than choosing it from a menu; they use appropriate variable names; and they vary parameter values by hand—sometimes with the aid of residuals and other tools—to help their function fit the data.

Fantasy Baseball with a Statistical Twist
Lori Koban, Erin McNelis
Fantasy baseball serves as a vehicle for students to perform various data-gathering and statistical analyses.

The Known Mix - A Taste of Variation
Daniel Canada
To create an environment in which all students have opportunities to notice, describe, and wonder about variability, this article takes a context familiar to many teachers—sampling colored chips from a jar—and shows how this context was used to explicitly focus on variation in the classroom. The sampling activity includes physical as well as computer simulations and has proven to generate lively discussion that highlights the tension between expectation on one hand and variation on the other.

The Evolution of Pearson's Correlation Coefficient
Gary Kader, Christine Franklin
An activity for developing the notion of association between two quantitative variables. By exploring a collection of scatter plots, the authors propose a nonstandard "intuitive" measure of association; and by examining properties of this measure, they develop the more standard measure, Pearson's Correlation Coefficient. The activity is designed to help students better understand how statistical measures are "invented" and why certain measures are preferred.