Nathan read that students tend to carry backpacks that are too heavy, and he decides to collect data to determine if this is true for his school. Which of the following would be the most appropriate data for Nathan to collect?
(A) The number of books in students’ backpacks
(B) Whether or not students carry a backpack to school
(C) The weight of students’ backpacks with contents
(D) The number of days per week students carry a backpack to school
6.SP.1: Recognize a statistical question as one that anticipates variability in the data related to the question and accounts for it in the answers. For example, “How old am I?” is not a statistical question, but “How old are the students in my school?” is a statistical question because one anticipates variability in students’ ages.
The correct answer to this item is choice (C). The question requires students to choose the most appropriate type of data to collect to answer a question that is statistical in nature. Since Nathan would like to determine whether or not the backpacks students carry at his school tend to be too heavy or not, he could collect data on the weight of students’ backpacks with contents. This item was answered correctly by about 87% of students.
Choice (A) was the most popular distractor with a response rate of about 9%. While one could argue that a student carrying too many books might be an equivalent statement as a student carrying a backpack that is too heavy, not all books are the same shape or size, and therefore weight, so this would not be the most appropriate data to collect out of the available choices. Choice (B) would allow Nathan to determine what proportion of students carry backpacks to school or how many students carry a backpack to school, but it will not allow him to make conclusions on whether or not the backpacks are too heavy. Only about 1% of students chose this response. Finally, choice (D) allows Nathan to determine the average number of days per week students carry a backpack to school, however, it will not allow him to address his inquiry.