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Skew the Script


9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, AP® / College


Science, Chemistry, Biology, Mathematics

Resource Types

  • Video, 15 minutes, 21 seconds, CC, Subtitles
  • Worksheet
  • Presentation Slides
  • Lesson Plan

Regional Focus

North America, United States, USA - Midwest


PDF, Microsoft Word, Microsoft Powerpoint, Google Forms

Critical Values & Margins of Error

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  • This lesson applies information about sample size, critical values, standard error, and confidence intervals to analyze a study about the safety of tap water in Flint, Michigan.
  • The lesson includes a step-by-step video, guided questions, student handout, reflection form, presentation slides, teacher guide, and answer key.
Teaching Tips


  • This lesson applies statistics to address a current public health issue.
  • This is a great way to learn about how statistics is used in experimental design and the importance of large sample sizes.

Additional Prerequisites

  • This resource is the second part of a 2-part set of lessons on applying statistics to the Flint water crisis.
  • Students should have an understanding of confidence intervals and how to apply them before using this resource and should know terms like standard error, standard deviation, and z-score.
  • Teachers and students need to create a free account to access the materials.


  • Parts of the video can be used in civics classes during lessons about public policy related to health and the role regulations play in shaping the health of communities.
  • This resource includes free guides on how to use the resource in different classroom settings, including in-person, online, and hybrid settings.
  • They suggest using the video in a flipped classroom format, where students watch the lecture at home and then come to class to discuss and work through the questions.
  • This lesson could be used to supplement science classes when discussing study results, the scientific method, or when performing lab procedures that require replication, control groups, and data analysis.
Scientist Notes
Students will learn how to compute error margins and identify key values, thanks to this resource. When comparing and evaluating the accuracy of the findings from the Flint water quality report, this technique is crucial for measuring the variability in the estimating process and checking the level of confidence. It is advised to use this resource when instructing.
  • College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
    • Dimension 2: Civics
      • D2.Civ.10.9-12 Analyze the impact and the appropriate roles of personal interests and perspectives on the application of civic virtues, democratic principles, constitutional rights, and human rights.
    • Dimension 4: Taking Informed Action
      • D4.6.9-12 Use disciplinary and interdisciplinary lenses to understand the characteristics and causes of local, regional, and global problems; instances of such problems in multiple contexts; and challenges and opportunities faced by those trying to address these problems over time and place.
  • Common Core Math Standards (CCSS.MATH)
    • Statistics & Probability: Interpreting Categorical & Quantitative Data (9-12)
      • CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.HSS.ID.A.4 Use the mean and standard deviation of a data set to fit it to a normal distribution and to estimate population percentages. Recognize that there are data sets for which such a procedure is not appropriate. Use calculators, spreadsheets, and tables to estimate areas under the normal curve.
    • Statistics & Probability: Making Inferences & Justifying Conclusions (9-12)
      • CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.HSS.IC.A.1 Understand statistics as a process for making inferences about population parameters based on a random sample from that population.
      • CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.HSS.IC.A.2 Decide if a specified model is consistent with results from a given data-generating process, e.g., using simulation. For example, a model says a spinning coin falls heads up with probability 0.5. Would a result of 5 tails in a row cause you to question the model?
      • CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.HSS.IC.B.4 Use data from a sample survey to estimate a population mean or proportion; develop a margin of error through the use of simulation models for random sampling.
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