## Task

Last night, Jennifer and her family went out for dinner. The questions below came up on their way to the restaurant or during the meal. Decide whether or not each question is a statistical question, and justify your decision.

- How far are we from the restaurant?
- How long will it be until we get there?
- Would Jennifer rather have burgers or pizza?
- How much should we leave for the tip?
- What was the first dish ordered in the restaurant this evening?
- Do customers at the restaurant like pizza?
- What is a typical bill for tables at this restaurant?
- On average, how many people were sitting at each table this evening?

## IM Commentary

The goal of this task is to promote a discussion of what makes a statistical question. This is an ideal place for a classroom discussion because answers are not always clear cut and there is a continuum going from questions that are clearly not statistical (Who was the King of France in 1716?) to questions that are definitely statistical (What is the average lifespan in the United States?). There is a lot of ground in between because a question can be interpreted and answered in different ways. A statistical question is one that can be answered by collecting data and for which there will be variability in that data. Questions that are answered with a single data point are not statistical questions because there is no variability in the data used to answer the question.

## Comments

Log in to comment## roxypeck says:

over 2 yearsTask edited 9/11/15

## redbaron says:

almost 3 yearsI think this is a very interesting set of questions, capable of expanding one's understanding of what a statistical question is--question (b) in particular.

As for question (e), declaring a most frequently ordered dish requires observing the varying data from all of the dishes ordered on the particular evening, making it a statistical question in that sense. Similarly, the question, "How large is the largest button in the jar?" from the "buttons" task is stated to be a statistical question, since "largest" cannot be determined without gathering and analyzing data pertaining to all of the buttons in the jar (though previously it had been called a non-statistical question, for reasons currently given in this task). Does solution (e) need this same revision?

## roxypeck says:

over 2 yearsYou make a good point. I have edited both the question in part (e) to make it a clearly non-statistical question and also modified the solution. Thanks!

## roxypeck says:

almost 3 yearsTask revised 4/7/15