We report on a project of combined teaching of probability and statistics in the Italian secondary schools. The aim is to bring a group of secondary school teachers up-to-date, without getting involved with complicated arguments and trying to overcome the barriers created by prevailing opinions (such as the combinatorial or frequentist approaches) concerning the teaching of probability and statistics. The project involves the study of specific teaching patterns, which aim at inculcating the idea of inductive reasoning as complementary to deductive reasoning, and no providing a kit of statistical tools for use in practice. In fact, teaching based on subjective probability and Bayesian statistics allows the coverage in a short time of some of the most significant aspects of statistical thinking. This can be done through an inferential model based on the iterative use of Bayes' theorem: hundreds of experiments can be simulated on a computer using elementary software. New statistical data can be used to evaluate current (posterior) probability; then taking this as the starting point (prior probability), further experiments produce another posterior probability, and so on.
- Prof Dev