Developing Statistical Modelers and Thinkers in an Introductory, Tertiary-Level Statistics Course


While models are an important concept in statistics, few introductory statistics courses at the tertiary level put models at the core of the curriculum. This paper reports on a radically different approach to teaching statistics at the tertiary level, one that uses models and simulation as the organizing theme of the course. The focus on modeling and simulation—along with inference—was facilitated by having students use TinkerPlots™ software for all modeling and analysis. Results from a 3-month teaching experiment suggest that a course focused on modeling and simulation through randomization and resampling methods in which students learn to think using a powerful and conceptual modeling tool can foster ways of thinking statistically. Furthermore, such an approach seems to help students develop experiences with and appreciation for the science and practice of statistics.

ZDM—The International Journal on Mathematics Education, 44(4), 883–898