I am looking for more ways to encourage students to use data that is relevant and interesting to them in my Statistics & Discrete Math class.  In a recent project, students were asked to answer the question, "Is size a useful predictor of a house's assessed value?" Data from websites such as the Johnson County Assessor were made readily available for students to access and research the ins and outs of houses on their own streets and in their housing developments.  Additional resources were posted on my website for students to use as they created a second statistical model with Iowa City or Cedar Rapids (two cities within 20 minutes that are much larger than the town I teach in) houses as data points.

Students were asked to produce a 1-2 page double-spaced report summarizing their findings:
  • A brief summary of the data in each mini-study (local neighborhood and CR/IC).  This included a response to the following question using data, graphs, regression lines, significance tests and correlation coefficients to backup your opinion - "Is size a useful predictor of price in your neighborhood? ...and in Iowa City or Cedar Rapids?"
  • A prediction of the students' house's assessed value based on square feet using his/her neighborhood model and the Iowa City or Cedar Rapids model.  Does this match-up with the assessed value according to the websites?  Explain a few possible reasons why or why not.
  • Finally, include a paragraph explaining any possible errors observed in the way data was collected or the process in which this study took place
Scatterplots, regression line equations and prediction intervals using Microsoft Excel were the norm for each student.

This project parallels quadrant D learning as written in the 9-12 Data Analysis/Statistics & Probability Iowa Core Curriculum essential concepts.

(cross-posted at the SCSD Technology Corner blog)