This has been one of the most stressful homeschooling days I've ever had. My son is in the sixth grade and we are in a section on statistics. When I was in school, statistics was a college course. I knew a couple of schools that taught it as an honors course in high school. Pre-algebra was only available ahead of high school for AP students in the 8th grade. Here my son is in 6th grade and is learning Geometry and Algebra. I was never good in math, so I've had to do brush up work ahead of him so I can show him how. Well, then we hit statistics. I didn't take statistics until college! We spent 6 1/2 hours on math today and I've been tearing my hair out! I finally called my mom, who taught middle school math for a couple of years, and she had never heard of a box and whisker plot either. I called my college age daughter who is a math genius (I mean an Honors-college-calculus-in-11th grade math genius). She had never heard of it. I finally found a video on Youtube that explained it better than the book and teacher's guide and we managed to finally get past the first section. Then we go on to the next one and hit another brick wall in using the box and whisker plot to find the interquartile range and the mean absolute deviation. (HUH?) I finally called a few tutoring services and they were all prohibitively expensive. I didn't know what to do. After my 9th grader got home from school, I mentioned to her that we were struggling with it. Her answer? "Oh I know how to do that! I could show him." Grrr!

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I would imagine it is only an introduction to probability and statistics, not a full course, in 6th grade. A simple google search solves a lot of these type of simple complexities (how's that for an oxymoron?). I found this for box and whisker plot--never heard of the term that I can remember, but I took that class in college 30 years ago! LOL Many times it is just a matter of new terminology, not new concepts, or a different way of presenting something (new math?).

Learning new things is the fun of homeschooling..isn't it?

This site has a one page chart on just about everything! My son and i were able to learn and do the box/whisker and scatter plot ones just by reading the explanations on the charts here: http://www.amathsdictionaryforkids.com/mathsCharts.html

go to data and statistics.

Don't feel bad, I got the top score in my graduate level statistics class in college, and I had to look it up! Someone seriously just made up that box/whisker one :-)

Oh and it got better! In the next lesson we had to use the mean absolute deviation to determined the location of the fences to define the outliers in the data set.

I think I had a bit of a problem when the next area is to determine if you wanted to misprepresent the data to skew for a bias which measurement would you use? Why not teach them the best way to be accurate, not the best way to mislead.

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- MomofSCMJJA

on Feb. 22, 2013 at 10:06 PM