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ERIC Number: EJ859515
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 10
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 10
ISSN: ISSN-1326-0286
Licorice Production and Manufacturing: All-Sorts of Practical Applications for Statistics
Watson, Jane; Skalicky, Jane; Fitzallen, Noleine; Wright, Suzie
Australian Primary Mathematics Classroom, v14 n3 p4-13 2009
Among the practical applications of statistics is the collection of data from manufacturing processes. Often collected in the form of a time series, data collected from a series of measurements show the variation in those measurements, such as mass of a product manufactured. Limits are set for quality control and if these are exceeded then a decision is made about the process; perhaps it is halted and adjustments made to create a more uniform product over time. Having students experience the process that creates variable data provides a powerful foundation on which students can build an understanding of data and motivate statistical ways of interpreting those data. Particularly powerful are contexts that involve the repeated actioning of a process that generates objects. This type of process allows learners to experience the "creation of variation" and sets the stage for defining the measurements they want to collect and choosing the graphic representations of those data that reveal both the variability and the structure in those data. Although it might seem as if many students have thought little about the variability of such processes and expect uniformity in all measures, becoming involved in the process themselves could provide first-hand experience of the variability produced. The first part of this article describes an activity based on "manufacturing" licorice sticks from play dough which was carried out in Grade 1 and Grade 3 classrooms. The second part of the article details a professional development session carried out with 27 teachers to introduce them to the concept of variation in an environment suitable for upper primary and middle school students. (Contains 15 figures and 5 footnotes.)
Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers (AAMT). GPO Box 1729, Adelaide 5001, South Australia. Tel: +61-8-8363-0288; Fax: +61-8-8362-9288; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Education; Grade 1; Grade 3; Middle Schools; Primary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia