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Tuesday Teacher Tips: Starting with Statistics

Welcome to the Tuesday Teacher Tips series! Each week we’ll highlight teaching and learning resources, ideas to use in the classroom, as well as things to ponder as you go about your teaching day.

Many years ago (19 to be exact!), as a first year teacher I attended a Marcy Cook workshop. During that workshop I learned the importance of starting the class with a warm-up. Just as you shouldn’t jump into a full physical activity without stretching and warming up, the same philosophy applies to math learning. Before beginning the lesson, get the kids thinking about numbers in a fun and interesting way.

Here are some websites with great real-life statistics to use in your classroom. Start off your math lesson with estimation, percentages, big numbers, ratios, and averages to warm up their brains for your upcoming lesson. Or make some of these statistics the focus of the lesson!

  • State Facts for Students (U.S. Census Bureau):  Find out kid-centered state facts like how people get to work, or a comparison of candy & nut stores in 2000 and 2008.
  • FactFinder Kids’ Corner (U.S. Census Bureau): Learn about your state, its population, median age, and urban & rural residences.
  • Taking America’s Measure (National Institute of Standards and Technology): Metric Fast Facts for Sports.
  • Energy Kids (U.S. Energy Information Administration): Lots of charts, graphs, percentages about energy.
  • Spotlight on Statistics (U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics): Find out how an average college age student spends their day with the aid of a circle graph or what activities are popular, depending on a person’s age group.

Do you have statistics that your students find fun and interesting? We’d love to hear about them!