Videos, solutions, and lessons to help Grade 6 students learn how to recognize a statistical question as one that anticipates variability in the data related to the question and accounts for it in the answers.

For example, “How old am I?” is not a statistical question, but “How old are the students in my school?” is a statistical question because one anticipates variability in students’ ages
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Common Core: 6.SP.1

### Suggested Learning Targets

• I can recognize that data has variability.
• I can recognize a statistical question (examples versus non-examples).
6.SP.1 statistical vs. non-statistical questions
The following table gives some examples of statistical questions and non-statistical questions. Scroll down the page for more examples and solutions.

A statistical question is a question that should have different answers.
How to recognize a statistical question?
• A question is not a statistical question if it has an exact answer. For example "How old are you?"
• A question is a statistical question if the answer is a percent, range, or an average. For example "How old are the students in this room"

Examples:
1. Identify which questions are statistical and which questions are not statistical.
• What is the favorite menu item for customers in the local restaurant?
• What time do most people eat their lunches?
• What did my dad eat for lunch today?
• What do 7th graders prefer to eat for lunch?

2. In a survey about practice time per week for high school athletes, 22% practice 1 hour, 40% practice 2 hours, 25% practice 3 hours, 10% practice 4 hours and 3% practice more than 4 hours.
Which one question is the most likely to have produced these results?
• What is the average practice time per week required by your sport?
• How much time do you spend doing homework during the week?
• Is practice time longer on Mondays than Tuesdays?
• Which sport practices the most?

3. Jessica conducted a survey using a representative sample of 50 customers from three local landscaping businesses in town. She found that 30% purchased maple trees, 24% purchased dogwoods, 20% purchased oaks, 16% purchased pines and 10% chose other types of trees.
Which statements about the survey that Jessica conducted are most likely to be true? Select all that apply.
• Jessica surveyed only the customers who purchased a tree.
• Jessica asked customers what type of tree they purchased.
• Jessica asked customers what type of plants they have in their yards.
• The sample consists of 50 customers from three local landscaping businesses in town.
• The population Jessica wants to know about consists of any customer of any landscaping business.
What is a Statistical Question?
Definition: A statistical question has answers that will probably vary. Usually a statistical question will ask about a population of multiple people, events or things.
Examples of statistical questions
• What time did the students in this class get up this morning?
• How many votes did the winning candidate for the Presidents of the Student Body receive in each of the past 20 years?
• What were the high temperatures in all of the Latin American capitals today?

Examples of not statistical questions.
• What time did I get up this morning?
• How many votes did the winning candidate for the Student Body receive this year?
• What was the high temperature in Mexico City today?

Statistical and non statistical questions
Examples:
Which of the following are statistical questions?
• How old are the people who have watched this video in 2013?
• Do dogs run faster than cats?
• Do wolves weigh more than dogs?
• Does your dog weigh more than that wolf?
• Does it rain more in Seattle than Singapore?
• What was the difference in rainfall between Singapore and Seattle in 2013?
• In general, will I use less gas driving at 55 mph than 70 mph?
• Do English professors get paid less than math professors?
• Does the most highly paid English professor at Harvard get paid more that the most highly paid math professor in MIT?
Statistical Questions - Common Core Standard
Students must know variability refers to the spread of data.

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