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Data Sampling: Representing Many by Sampling Some

Students construct and compare samples as "intern to the mayor," using this flexible and customizable tool to gauge public opinion.



Activity Type

  • Interactive Whiteboard Activities

"Data Sampling—Representing Many by Sampling Some" is an online, interactive tool designed to help students understand why it is important to select statistically valid representative samples. The tool, with its many variables to adjust and questions to discuss, provides numerous opportunities for active student participation. The questions challenge students to consider not just the results but their meaning. "Data Sampling—Representing Many by Sampling Some" contains four modules of the same skill level covering four policy issues in a small town: Skate Park, Pet Insurance, Summer Concert Series, and Public Computer Center. After choosing an issue, users select one of four related policy questions. They will then survey three different population samples, the parameters of which the user sets (sample size, population segment, and confidence level are adjustable). Then a statistically valid representative sample as well as the results of the entire population will appear for comparison. Questions are provided to aid users in thinking critically about the meaning of the results.


Students will:

  • Construct and compare samples
  • Indicate that valid samples enable inferences to be made about a population
  • Use proportional reasoning when making inferences

Susan Cheyney

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