Research-based guidance and classroom activities for teachers of mathematics

Sampling

Sampling is a theme within reasoning about data. Links to relevant activities and resources are on the right hand side of this page. 

Statistics generally involves playing one of two games:

  1. The dataset is all there is; it describes the whole population and there is no reason for inference.
  2. A sample has been collected and so there is a demand for inferential reasoning.

The distinction between these two games is not always clear to learners (and perhaps to some teachers). When playing game 2, the learner needs to appreciate (i) variability within a sample, resulting in the notion of a distribution, and later (ii) variability between random samples and its relationship to sample size.