# Lesson 19: Understanding Variability When Estimating a Population Proportion

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1 Lesson 19: Understanding Variability When Estimating a Population Proportion Student Outcomes Students understand the term sampling variability in the context of estimating a population proportion. Students know that increasing the sample size decreases sampling variability. Lesson Notes In a previous lesson, students investigated sampling variability in the sample mean for numerical data. In this lesson, they will investigate sampling variability in the sample proportion for categorical data. Distinguishing between the sample mean for numerical data and the sample proportion for categorical data is important. This lesson begins with students investigating these differences. It is important that students see the similarity between working with a proportion and what they did in the previous lessons when working with the mean; that is, as the sample size increases, the sampling variability of sample proportions decreases. The dot plots provide students a visual representation of sampling variability. Dot plots are also used to show the connection between sampling variability and sample size. Before students start the exercises, prepare bags containing 100 cubes (or beads or slips of paper, etc.) for each group of four students. Forty cubes should be red, and the remaining 60 cubes can be any other color (e.g., orange, blue, green, yellow). Also, prepare a number line (illustrated in Example 1) that is visible on the board or on poster paper. Classwork Opening (3 minutes) As a warm-up activity, discuss how the data used to calculate a proportion (such as the proportion of gym members that are female) is different from the data used to determine a mean (such as the mean time people spend in the gym or the mean number of words in a children s literature book). Other examples of a proportion are the proportion of people at a particular school who run a marathon or the proportion of Great Lake perch that are 5 cm or less. Understanding what a proportion is and how the type of data used to calculate a proportion is different from the type of data they used to calculate a mean is important for the next couple of lessons. This difference is not always easy for students to see, so be deliberate in pointing this out with each new data scenario that is introduced. Before students begin working with the example in their lesson, discuss the following statistical questions with students. Ask students what data they would collect to answer the questions and what they would do with the data. Point out to the students those situations in which they would find the average or mean of the data and those situations in which they would find a proportion or a percent. Question 1: How many hours of sleep do seventh graders get on a night in which there is school the next day? Data on the number of hours students in a sample of seventh graders sleep would be collected. This would be numerical data, and the mean of the numbers would be used to answer this statistical question. Date: 2/6/15 210

3 How would you determine the sample proportion of red cubes? number of successes in the sample Sample proportion = total number of observations in the sample Have students place post-it notes on the number line to build a dot plot. After all of the post-it notes have been placed, explain to students that the graph is the sampling distribution of the sample proportions. Allow students to work with their groups on parts (a) (f). Then, discuss as a class. As students discuss the answers to parts (d) and (e), note that the shape of the distribution of sample proportions is often mound shaped. For the variability, students need to focus on the overall spread in the sample proportions and the main cluster around the center of the distribution. a. Each person in your group should randomly select a sample of 1111 cubes from the bag. Record the data for your sample in the table below. Students tables will vary based on their samples. Cube Outcome (Color) Green Orange Red Red Blue Orange Red Green Blue Blue b. What is the proportion of red cubes in your sample of 1111? This value is called the sample proportion. The sample proportion is found by dividing the number of successes (in this example, the number of red cubes) by the total number of observations in the sample. Student results will be around In this example, the sample proportion is Date: 2/6/15 212

4 c. Write your sample proportion on a post-it note, and place it on the number line that your teacher has drawn on the board. Place your note above the value on the number line that corresponds to your sample proportion. The graph of all the students sample proportions is called a sampling distribution of the sample proportions. This is an example of a dot plot of the sampling distribution. d. Describe the shape of the distribution. Nearly symmetrical distribution that is clustered around e. Describe the variability in the sample proportions. The spread of the data is from to Much of the data clusters between and Based on the distribution, answer the following: f. What do you think is the population proportion? Based on the dot plot, an estimate of the population proportion is approximately g. How confident are you of your estimate? Because there is a lot of variability from sample to sample ( to ), there is not a lot of confidence in the estimate. Example 2 (14 minutes): Sampling Variability This example parallels Example 1. Students now take a random sample of 30 cubes from the bag. This sample should be taken with replacement. Example 2: Sampling Variablity What do you think would happen to the sampling distribution if everyone in class took a random sample of 3333 cubes from the bag? To help answer this question, you will repeat the random sampling you did in part (a) of Example 1, except now you will draw a random sample of 3333 cubes instead of Students record their sample results and find the sample proportion of red cubes in the bag. Again, they should record the proportion on a post-it note. Date: 2/6/15 213

5 Draw another number line on the board using the same scale as in Example 1. Allow students to work with their groups on Example 2. Then, discuss the answers as a class. a. Take a random sample of 3333 cubes from the bag. Carefully record the outcome of each draw. Answers will vary. An example follows: Blue Green Red Yellow Blue Red Red Green Blue Red Green Red Red Green Yellow Blue Blue Yellow Red Blue Red Green Red Red Blue Red Yellow Green Green Yellow b. What is the proportion of red cubes in your sample of 3333? Answers will vary. In this example, the sample proportion is 1111, or approximately c. Write your sample proportion on a post-it note, and place the note on the number line that your teacher has drawn on the board. Place your note above the value on the number line that corresponds to your sample proportion. An example of a dot plot: d. Describe the shape of the distribution. Mound-shaped, centered around Date: 2/6/15 214

6 Exercises 1 5 (5 minutes) Students should work independently on Exercises 1 5. Then, discuss as a class. Exercises Describe the variability in the sample proportions. Spread of the data is from to Most of the data clusters between and Based on the distribution, answer the following: a. What do you think is the population proportion? Based on the dot plot, an estimate of the population proportion is approximately b. How confident are you of your estimate? Because there is less variability from sample to sample ( to ), there is more confidence in the estimate. c. If you were taking a random sample of 3333 cubes and determined the proportion that was red, do you think your sample proportion will be within of the population proportion? Explain. Answers depend on the dot plots prepared by students. If the dot plot in Example 2, part (c) is used as an example, note that only about half of the dots are between and There are several samples that had sample proportions that were farther away from the center than , so the sample proportion might not be within of the population proportion. 3. Compare the sampling distribution based on samples of size 1111 to the sampling distribution based on samples of size Both distributions are mound-shaped and center around Variability is less in the sampling distribution of sample sizes of 3333 versus sample sizes of As the sample size increased from 1111 to 3333, describe what happened to the sampling variability of the sample proportions. The sampling variability decreased as the sample size increased. MP.2 5. What do you think would happen to the sampling variability of the sample proportions if the sample size for each sample was 5555 instead of 3333? Explain. The sampling variability in the sampling distribution for samples of size 5555 will be less than the sampling variability of the sampling distribution for samples of size Closing (3 minutes) To highlight the Lesson Summary, ask students the following questions: How do you know if the data collected is summarized by a mean or by a proportion? Anticipate responses that indicate the different types of data collected and how the data is summarized. Examples similar to those discussed in the lesson would indicate an understanding of when a mean is calculated and when a proportion is calculated. Date: 2/6/15 215

7 What would a dot plot of a sampling distribution of the sample proportion look like if proportions from many different random samples were used to create the plot? Anticipate responses that describe a dot plot in which each dot represents the sample proportion of one sample. The graph would show variability (or sampling variability) with a cluster around a value close to the value of the proportion for the population. Consider asking students to sketch a dot plot that they might get for one of the examples in which a proportion is used to answer the statistical question. What happens to the sampling distribution as the sample size increases? Anticipate responses that indicate the sampling variability (spread of the dots in the dot plot) decreases as the sample size increases. Lesson Summary The sampling distribution of the sample proportion is a graph of the sample proportions for many different samples. The mean of the sample proportions will be approximately equal to the value of the population proportion. As the sample size increases, the sampling variability decreases. Exit Ticket (5 minutes) Date: 2/6/15 216

8 Name Date Lesson 19: Understanding Variability When Estimating a Population Proportion Exit Ticket A group of seventh graders took repeated samples of size 20 from a bag of colored cubes. The dot plot below shows the sampling distribution of the sample proportion of blue cubes in the bag. 1. Describe the shape of the distribution. 2. Describe the variability of the distribution. 3. Predict how the dot plot would look differently if the sample sizes had been 40 instead of 20. Date: 2/6/15 217

9 Exit Ticket Sample Solutions A group of seventh graders took repeated samples of size 2222 from a bag of colored cubes. The dot plot below shows the sampling distribution of the sample proportion of blue cubes in the bag. 1. Describe the shape of the distribution. Mound-shaped, centered around Describe the variability of the distribution. The spread of the data is from to , with much of the data between and Predict how the dot plot would look differently if the sample sizes had been 4444 instead of The variability will decrease as the sample size increases. The dot plot will be centered in a similar place but will be less spread out. Problem Set Sample Solutions 1. A class of seventh graders wanted to find the proportion of M&M s that are red. Each seventh grader took a random sample of 2222 M&M s from a very large container of M&M s. Following is the proportion of red M&M s each student found a. Construct a dot plot of the sample proportions. b. Describe the shape of the distribution. Somewhat mound-shaped, slightly skewed to the right. Date: 2/6/15 218

10 c. Describe the variability of the distribution. Spread of the data is from to Most of the data clusters between and d. Suppose the seventh-grade students had taken random samples of size Describe how the sampling distribution would change from the one you constructed in part (a). The sampling variability would decrease. 2. A group of seventh graders wanted to estimate the proportion of middle school students who suffer from allergies. The members of one group of seventh graders each took a random sample of 1111 middle school students, and the members of another group of seventh graders each took a random sample of 4444 middle school students. Below are two sampling distributions of the sample proportions of middle school students who said that they suffer from allergies. Which dot plot is based on random samples of size 4444? How can you tell? Dot Plot A Dot Plot B Dot Plot A because the variability of the distribution is less than the variability in Dot Plot B. 3. The nurse in your school district would like to study the proportion of middle school students who usually get at least eight hours of sleep on school nights. Suppose each student in your class plans on taking a random sample of 2222 middle school students from your district, and each calculates a sample proportion of students who said that they usually get at least eight hours of sleep on school nights. a. Do you expect everyone in your class to get the same value for their sample proportion? Explain. No, we expect sample variability. b. Suppose each student in class increased the sample size from 2222 to Describe how you could reduce the sampling variability. I could reduce the sampling variability by using the larger sample size. Date: 2/6/15 219

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