10th International
Conference on
Teaching Statistics
8 – 13 July 2018
Kyoto, Japan
Contributed paper list

Contributed Paper C143


Early Childhood Experiences In Inferential Statistics Using An Inquiry Approach


Debra Mcphee (University of Queensland, Australia)
Katie Makar (University of Queensland, Australia)


Debra McPhee (Australia)


Young children’s capabilities to engage with informal statistical inference are often underestimated in classrooms. Yet prior research suggests that an inquiry approach to learning statistics can foster thinking above age level expectations. This paper reports on a study of an early childhood class where a teacher introduced the statistical inquiry, “Do most children in prep have blue eyes?” The children (aged 4-5) had no previous experience with statistics or inquiry as an approach to learning. The lessons reported followed an age-appropriate protocol for inquiry learning in which children engaged with an inquiry question, interacting with each other and the teacher. Observations of children’s statistical thinking, and examples of their inscriptions, illustrated how an inquiry approach created substantive exposure to statistical thinking beyond age level expectations.