Statistical Uncertainty

(Level: Middle and High School)

This activity explores statistical uncertainty.

Scientists make measurements of the natural world — both to describe the natural world and to understand the fundamental laws that govern the operation of the natural world. These measurements allow scientists to quantify conditions and describe natural phenomena. However, there can be uncertainty in scientific findings about the natural world, because of limited accuracy and precision of measurements (Measurement Errors) and the variability that occurs in nature (Natural Variability). Scientists use statistical methods to help interpret their measurements and quantify the amount of uncertainty. Statistics involves analyzing numerical data from a specific set of observations in order to make broader generalizations about the natural world. The following activity demonstrates how scientific measurement data can be used to determine natural variability and its effect on statistical uncertainty.

File: DOSITS Statistical Uncertainty (PDF, 162 KB)