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Meet Common Core Standards with Statistics

Cartoon Depicting Mr. Alfred De Fuisseaux

Cartoon Depicting Mr. Alfred De Fuisseaux (1843-1901)
As a Figure Juggling with Figures
[Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

“Facts are stubborn, but statistics are more pliable.”–Mark Twain

The Numbers Game

Statistics are everywhere. Politicians, pundits, journalists, lobbyists, academics, students, and scientists–these are just a few examples of people who use statistics to defend their work. But statistics are often presented in ways that can alter how we understand and interpret a particular issue, which is why statistical literacy is so important.

Statistical Literacy and Common Core Standards

Statistical literacy includes the ability to find, analyze, and interpret statistics. Common Core State Standards emphasize the importance of statistical literacy.

Here are a few Common Core Standards that relate to statistics:

  • CCSS.Math.Content.HSS.IC.A.1 Understand statistics as a process for making inferences about population parameters based on a random sample from that population.
  • CCSS.Math.Content.HSS.IC.B.3 Recognize the purposes of and differences among sample surveys, experiments, and observational studies; explain how randomization relates to each.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.9 Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

Analyzing Statistics

A Common Core-aligned statistical analysis should cover three major steps:

  • Find statistics on a subject of interest
  • Analyze statistics
  • Apply Knowledge by evaluating credibility and making conclusions about statistics

Take a look at this infographic:

Infographic. Electric Vehicles

Image by ProQuest LLC via ProQuest SIRS Issues Researcher

Based on this infographic, California has the highest number of electric vehicles. But these data only tell part of the story. Consider California’s population size: it is the most populous state in the United States, which puts California at a distinct advantage when presenting a simple tally. More sparsely populated states would likely favor presenting these statistics as electric vehicles per capita. Both presentations of data are correct, but the way in which these statistics are presented may alter our understanding and interpretation.

This example illustrates the importance of statistical literacy. Statistical representation, however, is only one facet of statistical analysis. Other considerations include: sources, authors, sponsoring organizations, dates, historical context, statistical methodologies, and comparable studies.

Resources

Check out these resources:

Statistical literacy will help students meet Common Core Standards, but it will also help them understand and think critically about the statistics that bombard them every day.

Meet Common Core Standards with Primary Sources

Underwood Typewriter
By Kroton (Own work) [GFDL or CC-BY-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

I once worked at a museum exhibit where the most popular artifact among tech-armed students was an Underwood Typewriter. Many of the students had never seen a manual typewriter before, let alone used one. They were downright captivated by feeding paper, pressing keys, unjamming letters, and moving over the carriage. The most common question: “How do you fix a typo?” An early twentieth-century typewriter provided students a tangible link to the past, while inspiring questions and wonderment. This typewriter illustrates the power of primary sources.

Primary Sources

Primary sources are invaluable because they are original, first-hand materials about people, places, or events created by people who were personally involved. They come in many forms: advertisements, court records, government documents, interviews, newspapers, objects, photographs, press releases, and speeches—just to name a few. Analyzing primary sources is a great way for students to connect with history.

Primary Sources and Common Core Standards

Although primary source analysis is nothing new, Common Core State Standards have renewed efforts to incorporate more informational texts into curricula. The standards require that students be able to find, analyze, and evaluate primary sources. The benefits of introducing primary sources into lesson plans are twofold: they engage students by enlivening historical events, and they help students meet Common Core Standards.

Here are a few Common Core Standards that relate to primary sources:

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.10 Read and comprehend complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.2 Determine a central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.8 Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is valid and the evidence is relevant and sufficient; identify false statements and fallacious reasoning.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.1 Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.

Analyzing Primary Sources

A Common Core-aligned primary source analysis should cover three major steps:

  • Find primary sources on a subject of interest
  • Analyze primary sources, paying attention to key ideas & details, craft & structure, and knowledge integration
  • Apply Knowledge by evaluating and making conclusions about primary sources

Resources

Check out these resources:

  • Find: SIRS Issues Researcher offers plenty of primary sources. Students can narrow their search results to include only primary sources.
  • Analyze: Our step-by-step, Common Core-aligned guide, Understanding Primary Sources, will help students analyze primary sources.
  • Apply Knowledge: Our guide will also prompt students to draw conclusions about primary sources.

Analyzing primary sources will engage students and help them meet Common Core Standards simultaneously. And they might just have a little fun, too.

Editor’s Top Picks

Educators, do you need a resource to spark classroom discussion or promote ideas for research on themes like holidays, current news events, or other topics that may be of interest to students? Each product within SIRS Knowledge Source offers an Editor’s Top Pick feature that recognizes an article or website for its research value. You can visit the home page of each product to view the Editor’s Top Pick in the upper right.

SIRS Discoverer, SIRS Discoverer WebFind, SIRS Renaissance and SIRS WebSelect editors update their Top Picks weekly, while SIRS Government Reporter’s Top Pick is updated each month. Try the Editor’s Top Pick today!

SIRS Discoverer Events Calendar

events calendar

Events Calendar in ProQuest SIRS Discoverer

Calendars are a treasure trove of curriculum ideas.  Famous birthdays tie into biography units, holidays speak to multicultural themes, anniversaries and memorials are a door to history and special months are an opportunity to celebrate cultural heritage.

Within the Spotlight of the Month, SIRS Discoverer provides an interactive 12-month Events Calendar featuring birthdays, holidays and events that link directly to editor-selected content. Explore Born on This Day entries ranging  from Paul Revere and Ida B. Wells to LeBron James and Michael Phelps. Research a kaleidoscope of events and holidays including National Safety MonthWorld AIDS Day, Battle of Gettysburg, and Canada Day.

At SIRS Discoverer, every day is a day to learn!