Statistics for kids?

AFTER you've done your research and concluded your experiments, it is time to prepare for the science fair. Ask specific questions about preparing for a science fair, including how to set up your display board, how to prepare a presentation, etc. (Please post questions about selecting a project or conducting your experiment by posting in the appropriate "area of science" forum.)

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Statistics for kids?

Postby janet_425 » Wed Mar 31, 2010 9:13 pm

We survived our science fair! One of the judges suggested that my 4th grader should have done standard deviations on her data. (This was the same one that I was posting asking for ways of making different kinds of charts -- it was hard data to make sense of!)

So, I'm wondering if there are any good "statistics for kids" books out there for next year???
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Re: Statistics for kids?

Postby MelissaB » Thu Apr 01, 2010 12:27 am

I'm afraid I don't know of any good stats books for kids. But, the statistics pages on Wikipedia are actually very good, and you might be able to go through those with your fourth/fifth-grader. Standard deviations are relatively easy to calculate (do you have access to Excel? The formula is just 'STDEV(cells with the data in them)'. You can explain that a standard deviation is just a measurement of how much variation there is from trial to trial in the experiment. I personally think it might be a bit overkill for a 4th grader, but it is a useful way to measure how much variation you have rather than just saying 'these varied a lot' or 'these didn't vary much'.
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Re: Statistics for kids?

Postby Amber_MIT » Thu Apr 01, 2010 9:53 am

I'm VERY surprised the judge said that. Most middle school kids don't even do standard deviation! I have a feeling he has no idea what the standard is for K-8 projects, or even what math children have learned at that point (maybe he's used to judging advanced high school projects). Excel is definitely the easiest way to do it. You could try working through the math with your child, but I don't think I would have understood it in 4th grade. We hadn't even learned about algebra or equations at that point! But explaining that it measures how different each number is from the others (like Melissa said), would be good.

I found a "Cartoon Guide to Statistics" book on amazon. Their books are normally pretty good. It would be a fun way to learn statistics, but you'd still have to help your child with the math and make sure they understand one section before moving onto the next. It will probably take lots of patience. This isn't a book (especially for a 4th grader) to breeze through like a novel. http://www.amazon.com/Cartoon-Guide-Sta ... 577&sr=8-1

Good luck and let us know if you have more questions!
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