The Connections Project was initiated by Prof. Dani Ben-Zvi at 2005, and was designed and developed continuously over the following years. Connections is a longitudinal development and research project (2005-) aiming to develop an inquiry-based environment within learning communities (grades 4-6) in the knowledge domain of Statistics.
The students who participate in Connections reason about, analyse, represent and present authentic data-based situations, in learning communities with the support of a powerful visualisation software named TinkerPlots. They actively experienced some of the processes involved in experts’ practice of data-based inquiry by working on small data scenarios, investigated by peer collaboration and classroom discussions. Students generate and phrase the questions they wish to investigate, suggest hypotheses, analyse data, interpret the results and draw conclusions. At the end, they present their main results to fellow students and parents in a ‘statistical happening’.
A key element in the design of the Connections project is the idea of growing samples. Growing samples is an instructional heuristic (e.g, Bakker, 2004; Ben-Zvi, 2006), In which students are introduced to increasing sample sizes, all taken from the same population. For each sample, the students are asked to make an informal inference and to predict about the following larger sample.
The Connections project is a fertile ground for research on developing children's statistical reasoning that explains how they learn to analyse data, argue about data-based claims, make informal inferences, articulate uncertainty use technology to model data.