“Three out of four people prefer Brand X toothpaste.” We hear these claims all the time. How did these claims come about? Was every single person in the world asked about the brand they prefer? That would certainly take a lot of time and money!
The activity Using a Sample to Generalize about a Population helps students to understand that it is difficult to gather information about an entire population. They learn that a smaller portion of the population, called a sample, is used to draw inferences about the entire population, and that these samples must be representative of the whole population to make valid generalizations. They also examine the effect sample size and variation can have on their conclusions.