A Statistics Class Without Calculators

In another post, we argued for the use of applets instead of graphing calculators in order to buy us more time for developing deep understanding and less memorizing. What if we did away with graphing calculators entirely?


Intro Stats at East Kentwood High School

Last year at East Kentwood High School, we developed a new on-level statistics course designed specifically for Seniors (who were afraid of Pre-Calc). We used the 3rd edition of Statistics and Probability with Applications and the applets associated with the book and no graphing calculators. We used a class set of iPads to access and use the applets (this year we are using Chromebooks). Students used the built in calculator on the Ipad to do simple calculations.

What about homework?

Students needed access to the applets for some of the homework. Luckily, the applets works brilliantly on all smartphones. Students simply used their phones to do statistical analysis. We did identify a small handful of students who did not have a device and allowed them to borrow Ipads on nights when they needed it.

What about quizzes and tests?

Of course we can’t have students on internet-connected devices during assessments (although I think test scores might go up!). So we developed our quizzes and tests such that they didn’t require the use of the applet. We often provided screen shots from the applet and asked students to interpret. On quiz and test day, we provided students with a simple scientific calculator to do any necessary calculations.

My students/school can’t afford Ipads or Chromebooks.

TI-84 Plus $170

Chromebook $160

I have heard that Chromebooks are also useful for other tasks besides math applets, but you will have to ask your English colleagues.

A Statistics Class Without Calculators