Evacuation Day

Today is “Evacuation Day” — ostensibly a holiday celebrating the day the British left Boston in the Revolutionary War, but really a holiday to give people in Boston the day off of work on St. Patrick’s Day. Most schools in Boston have the day off; we don’t. Attendance in my classes was about 60% today, so I scrapped my original plan wrapping up box plots and mean/median/mode/five-point summary with three SBG quizzes and instead decided to do an intro to scatterplots and bivariate data.

I showed my students a few pieces of this video from TED, and we played with this data for awhile. Things:

1. Pre-teaching is awesome. I started the year planning lessons around really small, specific, concrete tasks that I wanted students to be able to do by the end of the lesson. That works some of the time, but it doesn’t give the context or motivation for material as well as a broader, exploration-based lesson. I want to do more of these. Maybe that sounds obvious but it wasn’t to me in October.

2. This data is amazing. It’s really graphing four variables–fertility rate and life expectancy on the axes, population in the size of the bubble, and time as you drag the slider. If my kids can handle that (and they did a pretty good job) then they should be fine with the rest of the unit on scatterplots

3. This data is amazing. They loved asking questions about it, and looking at the behavior of different countries — especially Haiti in 2009-2010 (several of my students are Haitian), European countries through the world wars, Russia and China through their communist economic crises (they read Animal Farm this year), and many more.

4. All the key terms from the unit are in there. Positive and negative association, outliers, we talked about lines of best fit. I graphed income vs life expectancy to show positive association and found even more fascinating information

5. The talk by Hans Rosling was tough for kids to watch. The accent, the weird tangents, the highbrow humor. It was incredibly information-dense, talking about a challenging new topic. I might do that myself next time with a bit more preparation

6. Bivariate data is so cool. I’m pumped for this unit. Next up, this!

One thought on “Evacuation Day

  1. Pingback: Things I No Longer Believe In | Five Twelve Thirteen

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