Teach the Earth > Teaching Methods > Testing Conjectures > What are Conjectures?

Conjectures are inferences or judgments based on inconclusive or incomplete evidence (American Heritage Dictonary, 2006).

Conjectures are important because they can be used to impact student learning.

Students can be asked to make conjectures about uncertain events or analyses of data. They can then test these conjectures to see how close they were to actual outcomes or results. This process helps students build new knowledge and further develops their statistical reasoning skills by first revealing their misconceptions and then having them confront these misconceptions.

Statistics instructors can have students make conjectures (predictions or inferences) in many different contexts and topic areas, and about a wide variety of possible outcomes. Having students make and test conjectures helps students become personally invested and engaged in the learning activities. This makes the learning process more interesting and relevant for students.

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