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February 2009, Volume 14, Issue 6

FEATURES

Winning Big Money
Camille McCue
The television show Deal or or Deal and an Excel spreadsheet help students see how understanding probability and mean—and the concept of expected value (EV)—can lead to game show wins.

Decomposing Solids to Develop Spatial Sense
Samuel Obara
Three sets of activities are presented in the form of puzzles. These activities focus on students’ investigations of three-dimensional models, observing how they look and feel. The improvement of students’ spatial sense and conceptual understanding after experiencing the activities is described.

It’s a Fird! Can You Compute a Median of Categorical Data?
Aisling Leavy, Susan Friel, James Mamer
Students need time and experience to develop essential understandings when they explore data analysis. In this article, the reader gains insight into confusion that may result as students think about summarizing information about a categorical data set that is attempting to use, in particular, the median. The authors highlight points to consider in helping students unpack these essential understandings.

Exploring Results of the NAEP: 1980s to the Present
Peter Kloosterman, Zachary Rutledge, Patricia Kenney
In addition to data on overall performance since 1973, this article presents NAEP data on items that were recently released to the public. They are presented as examples of current student achievement in relation to achievement in the 1980s. Performance was stable or improving on most of the released items, with greatest improvement on items measuring knowledge of perimeter, percentages, and algebraic thinking.