Descriptive Statistics

Lesson 20


Develop and answer statistical questions through data analysis of existing data using appropriate statistical measures and displays. (Part 1/3)

Common Core Standards

Core Standards


  • HSS-ID.B.6 — Represent data on two quantitative variables on a scatter plot, and describe how the variables are related.

  • HSS-ID.C.7 — Interpret the slope (rate of change) and the intercept (constant term) of a linear model in the context of the data.

  • HSS-ID.C.8 — Compute (using technology) and interpret the correlation coefficient of a linear fit.

  • HSS-ID.C.9 — Distinguish between correlation and causation.

Foundational Standards


  • 8.SP.A.1

  • 8.SP.A.2

  • 8.SP.A.3

  • 8.SP.A.4

Criteria for Success


  1. Organize data, using technology, in a way that is easy to calculate statistical parameters.
  2. Identify and use relevant formulas with technology to calculate statistical measures. 
  3. Using technology, display data in an appropriate graph and table using appropriate labels, scales, and units. 

Tips for Teachers


  • This is the first of three project-based lessons on bivariate data. 
  • There is one basic context that is included in this series of three lessons, but the data sets can be swapped out easily using the resources in the problem set guidance or to meet the interests or needs of your students. 
  • Experimentation and data collection is encouraged, although there are a lot of readily available data sets to use as well. Additional data sets and options are included in the problem set guidance. 
  • The target task for this lesson is a reflection of the work done in class and is not meant to be an assessment of how well students have completed this part of the project. 
  • The teacher will need to develop an appropriate rubric to emphasize the portions of the modeling cycle that are most relevant to their students’ development in this process. See the SIAM modeling guide, Math Modeling: Getting Started and Getting Solutions, for more information.

Anchor Problems


Given the following data set, what statistical questions could you ask? 

Guiding Questions

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Problem Set


The following resources include problems and activities aligned to the objective of the lesson that can be used to create your own problem set.

Target Task


  1. What was challenging about developing a statistical question? 
  2. How did identifying the variables and choosing a visual representation help you to revise your statistical question?