by: Alanna DePinto
On the fifth floor of Wethersfield High School, Mr. Jensen shows a documentary on the space shuttle Challenger to his statistics classes. Mr. Jensen shows the video every year without fail. To learn more about why this video was shown I interviewed Mr. Jensen and statistics student Emmeline Hong from his eighth period class.
Mr. Jensen started teaching Statistics in 1996 and started to show the Challenger video within 10-15 years after he started teaching. When asked why Mr. Jensen started showing this video to his classes, he said, “I want to make a point about extrapolation and I’m a storyteller.” Jensen mentioned it was an extreme case but the Challenger video showed a complete story on people following data and people with a political or a PR agenda. The video shows that data is something that carries heavy weight and people still ignore it.
When asked what exactly he wanted students to take away from the video he said, “Something I want students to take away is the seriousness of learning, that particularly statistics, if you really learn how to handle data well and accurately, you can have a huge impact.”
Jensen demonstrates with this video and with in-class activities that he wants to help his students make smart educated decisions without bias in their futures. Jensen wants his students to look at the data to come to conclusions and not be persuaded by outside pressure, because, at the end of the day, it could be his students handling data that impacts peoples’ lives in the future.
When I interviewed senior Emmeline Hong, she mentioned the video made her feel sad for the people who died and their families. When I asked what she took away from the video, she said, “I learned that you should never assume anything. You should always make decisions off of consistent data rather than what you hope will happen.” Emmeline Hong agreed that the video made sense being shown in class as it reflects on the ideas on analyzing data in Statistics. Hong also mentioned that with such a serious topic, it made the class truly feel real and impactful.
This is just one example of the many real life connections Jensen makes in his statistics classes. Mr. Jensen helps students in developing critical thinking while learning content. Students are not only pushed to learn statistics, but to understand the seriousness of what they are learning. If you are interested in Statistics, consider taking the ECE class with Mr. Jensen.
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