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Presentation 3A2. Elementary Statistics International Travel Lab Component

Robert A. Leslie (USA)


Presentation Abstract

This paper describes my approach to teaching elementary statistics and several experiences I have had teaching, and my students have had studying, elementary statistics at Agnes Scott College. Specifically I will discuss various experiences during a three week travel component envisioned as an applied statistics lab for the course. The main substance of this paper will focus on ways in which the learning of statistics has been enhanced due to participation in this travel component.
The travel lab component has been designed to reflect topics that appear to be of vital importance in the countries which are being visited. For travel lab components thus far to Nicaragua and Cuba, the topics of study have dealt with the socio-economic status of certain groups within these countries. In Nicaragua the focus was on the extreme poverty among women and children. In Cuba it will be on the status of women in contemporary Cuba. These topics arose naturally in considering what is important to the people of these countries, but have also contributed to my study of social statistics, as well as to student interests by appealing to their natural appreciation of humanitarian efforts. Expecting to see such values discussed in their college courses, students find this application of statistics in social context not only informative but also relevant and memorable.

This talk will discuss how the utility of elementary statistics becomes evident to students through this type of travel component. Students at this level appear better able to appreciate and understand this utility when it is studied in this kind of intense and real life setting. I will also describe some of the details involved in putting this kind of course together as well as some alternatives which may prove to have a similarly stimulating effect.


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