I’ve been teaching AP Statistics since the 1996-1997 school year, the first year the exam was offered by the College Board. If you’ve never seen / experienced the course as a teacher or student, check it out. I had always enjoyed statistics in college, but this course was designed with a very different set of goals than my year-long mathematical statistics course had. In particular, the AP Statistics course wants students to become skilled in four main themes:
* Exploring data (choosing / interpreting appropriate numerical summaries and visual displays to describe patterns in data)
* Sampling/ Experimentation (designing / implementing studies effectively)
* Anticipating Patterns (the mathematics of randomness, probability, sampling distributions)
* Statistical Inference (making conclusions about populations from samples, hypothesis tests, confidence intervals)
While College Board’s course description claims it’s equivalent to a one-semester introductory statistics course, many of my returning students reveal that they go much more deeply than what they saw in a university-level course. As a teacher, the integration of activities, mathematics and writing in the same course has been challenging and exhilarating.
As I’ve grown in my teaching, I now find myself wishing I could do more with my students than what is done in the course. Furthermore, our school has been embarking on some cool initiatives: a Department of Independent Studies and Individual Research , and an Institute for Sports Medicine and Science .
Here’s what it means:
- The school is encouraging (and supporting) teachers to design courses that help students “go beyond the curriculum,” and
- The school is working professional-level researchers to find ways to educate, support, and study our student-athletes. Some of the work that’s already been done is found here.
So I’m jumping in the mix. My course proposal will be entitled “Statistics, Sports, and School.” My goals:
- Create and answer a substantive, interesting research question related to sports or sports medicine.
- Students will study related topics in library research, sports data, sports medicine, statistics, and writing that will support and inform their work throughout the year.
- Students will develop their understanding of statistical reasoning by using randomization tests and bootstrap intervals.
My hope is that the course helps our kids practice some independent research techniques and learn important skills in writing, research and statistics along the way. Additionally, I see great potential for students to work with professional researchers to produce studies that help them progress as student-athletes. Serious symbiosis, folks.
To prepare for this course, I’m “wearing my student hat” and learning deeply about some of the studies that are currently being done with our students by a team of accomplished UCLA researchers. They are currently working on a study to answer the following question:
How can an extensive nutrition program on a group of high-school athletes impact athletes’ performance, injury risk/recovery, and nutrition knowledge?
I have been very impressed with the degree of preparation, planning, and effort by everybody involved with the study. Plus, it includes collecting data with really cool machines like this one over here. It’s Called a BOD POD. It’s measures lean body mass and a ton of other cool stuff without dunking you into a pool of water.
Does anybody have experience / advice with a year-long course in student research?
Does anybody have advice/ experience with teaching bootstrap intervals or randomization tests? I’d love feedback like the kind Tim Erickson gives at his blog.