Education Technology

Are you a good guesser?

Published on 06/09/2008

Activity Overview

Students will estimate the length of the classroom, then compare their estimates with each other and with the actual answer.

Before the Activity

Begin the class with a general discussion on measurement. Ask if anyone knows about how long a foot is. Some students might say it's the same as their own foot, or perhaps as long as their forearm.

During the Activity

Have each student write down their best guess for the length of the classroom (to the nearest whole foot). They should keep their estimations secret. Walk around the classroom and enter each estimation into L1 of a calculator.
Launch the TI-Navigator system and force send the list to all students. Take some time to discuss the information. (1) How spread out are the estimations? (2) Are anyone's estimations the same? (3) Are there any outliers? (4) What could we do with all this data to make it easier to visualize?
Have the students exit the TI-Navigator system and use the information to create a box-and-whiskers plot of the class data. Use the screen capture to observe students during this time. Students might also want to create the plot on paper for more practice with creating this type of plot. Discuss the plots. Some students might be interested in re-creating the plots with outliers, or even examining the information in other ways. These students could be encouraged to find the mean, median, mode, and range of the numbers.

After the Activity

Ask students how confident they are in their own responses once they've seen the responses of others. Does anyone want to change their answer now? Discuss what the "best" estimate would be. The mean? The median? The mode? Something else?
As a finale, announce the correct answer.
If time permits, the activity could be repeated for the width of the classroom. Students could see if they became more accurate with their estimations after seeing the actual length of the room.