Critical Thinking through Vertical Workspace with Statistics

"Wipeable spaces have given my students the confidence that was not currently seen on a poster board or single whiteboard at their desk."


How can we find the average number of baskets a group of students shoots in a 12 day period. How can we decide who is a consistent player versus a high-performing player? How does the Mean or the Mean absolute deviation help us? Basketball is the most highly sought out sport in our Elementary school today. Students of all ages beg to play basketball year-round, so why not use problems that will peak their interest. Who has a better average? Does a better average equal a well-rounded player? These are all the thinking questions that were posed to my students throughout the lesson.  We used our reusable Wipebook Flipcharts to calculate the mean of three players and answer critical thinking questions.


collaborating together on the flipcharts


Critical Thinking From The Data

Critical thinking stems from the process of looking at data, interpreting its meaning, and then making a decision based on personal experience, prior knowledge, and the data you have been given. In this case, my students were split into 10 random groups of 2-3 students. We share one marker and three minds to complete the task. Students were required to create a graph of the data they collected from the three players' baskets. Once the table was filled in they were to find the average. Students are comfortable using the Flipcharts as a low-risk space to be able to erase if necessary. We completed one student's analysis and moved on to the next in a low-risk way.


Students up and moving working on the flipcharts


Questions include:

  • “Who had the higher average?” 
  • “How did the dot plots differ?” 
  • “What does the distance from the average tell us about the player?”
  • “Does the dot plot or the average give a better idea of a consistent player?”


Think, Think, Think

Students were given questions to which they had to really think of the answer. Many questions were given with the purpose that they could be argued in multiple ways. Differentiated thinking is encouraged and praised. Students used their small groups and Wipebook work to have a rich discussion with another group and finally with the entire class. Some groups decided to change their mind after collaborating with another group. They are being resourceful and learning to create a community of active learners who are eager and willing to share their ideas.


using Random groups to solve math problems on the flipcharts


Review and Gallery Walk

We use the Flipchart sheets all day long and for every subject! Currently, we are preparing for state testing. What better way to have students actively participate than to use the wipebooks. I have posted different problems around the room and each group is required to add their thoughts on the problem, the process, or the problem. Wipeable spaces have given my students the confidence that was not currently seen on a poster board or single whiteboard at their desk. They love to be up every day and moving throughout the day. Wipebooks have given my class a way to show their critical thinking skills, thinking maps, and the use of multiple strategies for a problem in an easy functional way.


Group work in progress!


Lisa Waide, Teacher, Jefferson Elementary School


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