## __My Action plan__

## Desired results

The big idea that I seek to have my students understand is that statistical analysis empowers us to show that our scientific claims are valid. I want my students to grasp the critical link between mathematical analysis and the entire scientific endeavor.

Statistics is at the heart of science. Claims, models and theories are created by people to explain how nature and the universe works. These models exist at the mercy of the data collected by scientists through observations and experiments. To objectively test a theory or hypothesis, scientists must collect data and the meaning of any data can only be understood using statistical tools. Data can either support or refute a given hypothesis, but only if it is accurate and precise. No result can be regarded as 100% precise or accurate, there is always a margin of error due to random and systematic sources of error. At the same time, scientists must be aware of personal biases that might compel them to disregard unexpected data that might refute a favorite model or claim. Scientists understand that there is no possible way to ever “prove” that a model is correct - there always exists the possibility that leprechauns or something outside the model are actually behind the observed results, but with statistics we can measure how confident we are that the results are accurate and thus reflect the model. By collecting a large amount of data and selecting the appropriate statistical tests, scientists can show that the possibility of a particular result not being real is so remote that it can be effectively disregarded. In this way statistical analysis allows scientists to determine if data is meaningful.

Students must learn, understand and use a large catalog of statistical terms and concepts in order to meet the expectations of the IB Biology curriculum. These include :

Readings, lectures and real-world stories will be used as a way of introducing the concepts and terms involved in statistical analysis. Students will be expected to create flashcards with the terms, definitions and examples to help them master the language and concepts. Students will practice the statistical skills listed above through analysis of sample data sets as well as data collected during class lab activities. Students will also complete researched presentations on statistical concepts.

Statistics is at the heart of science. Claims, models and theories are created by people to explain how nature and the universe works. These models exist at the mercy of the data collected by scientists through observations and experiments. To objectively test a theory or hypothesis, scientists must collect data and the meaning of any data can only be understood using statistical tools. Data can either support or refute a given hypothesis, but only if it is accurate and precise. No result can be regarded as 100% precise or accurate, there is always a margin of error due to random and systematic sources of error. At the same time, scientists must be aware of personal biases that might compel them to disregard unexpected data that might refute a favorite model or claim. Scientists understand that there is no possible way to ever “prove” that a model is correct - there always exists the possibility that leprechauns or something outside the model are actually behind the observed results, but with statistics we can measure how confident we are that the results are accurate and thus reflect the model. By collecting a large amount of data and selecting the appropriate statistical tests, scientists can show that the possibility of a particular result not being real is so remote that it can be effectively disregarded. In this way statistical analysis allows scientists to determine if data is meaningful.

Students must learn, understand and use a large catalog of statistical terms and concepts in order to meet the expectations of the IB Biology curriculum. These include :

*carrying out calculations involving means, decimals, fractions, percentages and ratios**representing and interpreting frequency data in the form of bar charts, graphs and histograms, including direct and inverse proportion**plotting graphs (with suitable scales and axes) involving two variables that show linear or non-linear relationships**plotting and interpreting scattergraphs to identify a correlation between two variables, and appreciate that the existence of a correlation does not establish a causal relationship**determining the mode and median of a set of data, calculating and analysing standard deviation**selecting statistical tests appropriate for the analysis of particular data and interpreting the results.*

Readings, lectures and real-world stories will be used as a way of introducing the concepts and terms involved in statistical analysis. Students will be expected to create flashcards with the terms, definitions and examples to help them master the language and concepts. Students will practice the statistical skills listed above through analysis of sample data sets as well as data collected during class lab activities. Students will also complete researched presentations on statistical concepts.

## performances of understanding

I will focus on three types of performances of understanding. First, students will develop knowledge of the concepts and terms associated with statistical analysis while also addressing their misconceptions. Second, students will develop deeper understanding of the concepts by using and applying statistical tools on data sets they collect in labs and experiments. Finally students will demonstrate that they have ownership and transferability of the concepts by creating unique media presentations about a chosen statistics concept.

The first assessment will be a reading in Nature magazine about statistical errors in science research (Volume 506 pages 150-152). Students will be expected to read and annotate the text with a focus on identifying their confusions, links to prior knowledge, and curiosities about the topic. The reading is about the debates that are taking place in the world of statistics. The reading is approachable and focuses on an interesting story of a scientist who thought he had made a big “discovery” only to run into trouble with reproducibility. Students will be assessed on their engagement with the topic and their recognition of their own understandings, misunderstandings and misconceptions. These criteria should be visible in the student’s annotations as well as in group and class discussions. I want this assessment to peak students curiosity and make it clear that what I expect from them is not the book’s answers, but their own thinking and understandings about the topic.

After this initial assessment, we will step back and uncover the vocabulary and concepts of statistics through lectures, class discussions, textbook activities and practice work. The statistical concepts are naturally integrated into the biology curriculum and will be regularly addressed in class as students build their understanding of the Nature of Science - a major part of the IB biology curriculum. Regular assessments on these concepts will take place throughout the year in the form of quiz and exam questions, student workbook assignments and practice work. These assessments and the feedback students receive will focus on building the knowledge base required to develop a deeper, transferable understanding of the concepts of statistics.

Throughout the year, students will complete lab activities with statistical analysis components. Students will analyze their data using statistical tools such as error bars, lines of best fit, t-tests, etc. Students will use google sheets to complete descriptive statistics on sample data. These assessments will focus on the application of concepts. Students will be evaluated on their ability to correctly use the statistical tools and their ability to interpret the meaning of their results. Feedback will focus on addressing mistakes and getting students to explain how they understand the data.

The final performance of understanding will be a presentation about a statistical concept. Students will choose a statistical concept and develop a creative presentation that shows transferability of the concept. Their presentation should include examples, analogies, visuals, and quotes to explain and demonstrate a deep, clever understanding of their concept. Feedback will focus on style, creativity and effectiveness at explaining the concept.

The first assessment will be a reading in Nature magazine about statistical errors in science research (Volume 506 pages 150-152). Students will be expected to read and annotate the text with a focus on identifying their confusions, links to prior knowledge, and curiosities about the topic. The reading is about the debates that are taking place in the world of statistics. The reading is approachable and focuses on an interesting story of a scientist who thought he had made a big “discovery” only to run into trouble with reproducibility. Students will be assessed on their engagement with the topic and their recognition of their own understandings, misunderstandings and misconceptions. These criteria should be visible in the student’s annotations as well as in group and class discussions. I want this assessment to peak students curiosity and make it clear that what I expect from them is not the book’s answers, but their own thinking and understandings about the topic.

After this initial assessment, we will step back and uncover the vocabulary and concepts of statistics through lectures, class discussions, textbook activities and practice work. The statistical concepts are naturally integrated into the biology curriculum and will be regularly addressed in class as students build their understanding of the Nature of Science - a major part of the IB biology curriculum. Regular assessments on these concepts will take place throughout the year in the form of quiz and exam questions, student workbook assignments and practice work. These assessments and the feedback students receive will focus on building the knowledge base required to develop a deeper, transferable understanding of the concepts of statistics.

Throughout the year, students will complete lab activities with statistical analysis components. Students will analyze their data using statistical tools such as error bars, lines of best fit, t-tests, etc. Students will use google sheets to complete descriptive statistics on sample data. These assessments will focus on the application of concepts. Students will be evaluated on their ability to correctly use the statistical tools and their ability to interpret the meaning of their results. Feedback will focus on addressing mistakes and getting students to explain how they understand the data.

The final performance of understanding will be a presentation about a statistical concept. Students will choose a statistical concept and develop a creative presentation that shows transferability of the concept. Their presentation should include examples, analogies, visuals, and quotes to explain and demonstrate a deep, clever understanding of their concept. Feedback will focus on style, creativity and effectiveness at explaining the concept.

## learning experience and instruction

**Context:**The context that I am working in is, in my opinion, a good situation for success on this project. I will be teaching IB Diploma Programme Biology at the standard level. This is a two year course that covers Biology at a college level, similar to an AP class. 2015-2016 will be the first year I will teach this course. I will have about 45 junior students split into two classes. My classroom is a lab that was recently updated and has 7 student lab stations with sinks, gas jets and desktop computers with internet access. I have a collection of Neulog data sensors for collecting data on light, temperature, CO2, oxygen, and soil moisture. Kennedy High School also has two laptop carts available to be signed out. My students will be juniors who have fulfilled the requirements to take the Diploma Programme courses. These requirements include completing a personal project, maintaining a 3.0 GPA, and maintaining 90% attendance. The students have a wide range of math and literacy abilities, but have all demonstrated a high level of commitment to the IB programme.

**Content:**The claims in biology, and in all of science for that matter, are built upon the statistical analysis of the data collected through observations and experimentation. I want my students to realize how important the statistical tools are to the nature of science and how these tools allow scientists to support and refute claims which in turn allows our understanding of nature to progress. I have never taught this material before but I believe it will be very challenging to students because I recall how challenging it was for me and my classmates back in college. Many students are likely to struggle with the new vocabulary, the concepts and the calculations involved in statistics.

**Pedagogy:**I think that a combination of pedagogical approaches will help me achieve my project goals. I believe that students will first need to recognize their curiosity and misconceptions about this topic. I want to introduce the topic through a story that students can relate to and call back to throughout the project. To do this I will utilize a close reading strategy on a Nature article on the controversy surrounding the use of certain statistical methods. Students will independently read and annotate the text with a focus on surfacing their interests, questions and misunderstandings. They will then participate in a collaborative discussion of the text and their annotations. During the discussion, students will focus on identifying their common inquiry questions about the topic.

I will also use some teacher centered and independent practices to build the knowledge base needed to understand statistics in science. There will be lectures and note-taking along with drilling and practice in the form of worksheets and flashcards. This will be important to make sure that students are learning the appropriate language and skills associated with these concepts. Students will need to be fluent in the vocabulary and concepts of statistical analysis for the externally evaluated IB assessments that are given at the end of their second year.

I will also be using student centered and collaborative practices during this project. Students will work together to complete lab activities that will be set up as inquiries. Students will answer questions and determine the validity of their own and other people’s claims by applying statistical methods to data they collect in class. Students will use computer simulations to collect data for some labs and they will complete live labs using data logging sensors to collect data for other labs. Each lab will have specific requirements for statistical analysis along with rubrics for assessing their work. Students will need to be proficient in their statistical analysis and work will be graded using the IB laboratory investigation rubric. By the end of the two year course, the IB curriculum requires students to complete a personal investigation where they independently develop an inquiry question, a methodology for testing their hypothesis, and a conclusion based on a statistical analysis of their results. These personal investigations will be externally evaluated. Students will need to master applying statistical concepts in order to succeed on the personal investigation.

The pedagogical approach for the final project will also be student centered collaboration. Students will work in groups to complete their presentations on statistical concepts. My goal for using this approach is to get students to take ownership of the concepts by pushing them to become experts. I also want them to become engaged in the open-ended creative process of finding and using unique presentation software to create their presentations. The end products will hopefully be creative, clever, funny, insightful and stylish expressions of their understanding of the statistical concepts and of their skills at using presentation technology.

**Technology:**There are several technologies that I will integrate into this project. The first will be a simple elmo style document camera and projector to help with the reading inquiry. This technology will allow me to model annotating a text with questions, links to prior knowledge, models, and so on. Students will be able to watch me add the annotations live as I read through a text. In addition, students will be able to share their own annotations visually with the entire class.

The second set of technology I will integrate will be the Neulog data logging sensors and google sheets. The Neulog sensors allow students to digitally collect data during lab activities. The data can be exported from the Neulog software to google sheets which in turn will be used by students to complete various statistical tests and calculations.

The final technology will be a variety of free online presentation software. Throughout the year I will demonstrate using different software programs such as prezi, powtoon (a free animation presentation program), emaze and any others that I find. Students will have the choice of using one of the programs that I model or of finding their own free software for their final group project.