Larry Lesser & Dennis Pearl co-curate a statistics fun collection at CAUSEweb.org/fun
edutainment-related GRANTS are listed at the bottom of page
PAPERS/TALKS including one or more of the authors on fun in math/statistics education, whether or not it was part of the grants; major entries are in boldface
D. Pearl & L. Lesser (summer 2022). Statistical edutainment: a means to vary how we teach summary statistics. Teaching Statistics, 44(2), 82-89. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/test.12301
D. Pearl (Feb. 10, 2022). “Stats + Stories” podcast episode #218 with a large focus on statistics educational fun, https://statsandstories.net/education1/statistician-with-a-cause
Lesser & Pearl (spring 2022). Take a chance on statistical edutainment. Teaching Statistics, 44(1), 34-42. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/test.12293
L. Lesser (Nov. 17, 2021). Poetry + Math = A Meaningful Path, invited talk for National Museum of Mathematics (flyer: https://momath.org/events-2022/poetry-math/; recording: https://momath.org/civicrm/?page=CiviCRM&q=civicrm%2Fevent%2Fregister&id=7628&reset=1)
Karaali, G. & Lesser, L. (2021). Arts of the heart: Mathematics and poetry. In Bharath Sriraman (Ed.), Handbook of the Mathematics of the Arts and Sciences (pp. 967-979). NY: Springer.
L. Lesser (2021). R is for Rhyme? Statistics Class ‘Stanza Part’ with Poetry!, Proceedings of the 2021 Joint Statistical Meetings, Section on Statistics and Data Science Education, pp. 1236-1240.
L. Lesser (August 2021). Presenting Mathematical Poetry Across Disciplinary Lines [refereed short paper]. In David Swart, Frank Farris, Eve Torrence, & Craig S. Kaplan (Eds.), Proceedings of Bridges 2021: Mathematics, Art, Music, Architecture, Education, Culture (pp. 371-374). Phoenix, AZ: Tessellations Publishing. ISBN: 978-1-938664-39-7. http://archive.bridgesmathart.org/2021/bridges2021-371.pdf is the written paper and here is the related oral presentation
L. Lesser, “Seven Circles“, Informal Music Night (Aug. 3, 2021) for 2021 BRIDGES Conference on Mathematics, Art, Music, Architecture, Education, Culture
L. Lesser (August 2021). Invited contribution to the Virtual Poetry Reading page for 2021 Bridges conference: https://www2.math.uconn.edu/~glaz/Mathematical_Poetry_at_Bridges/Bridges_2021/The-program-and-the-poets-2021.html
D. Pearl & L. Lesser (fall 2021). Poll position: a sampling of statistical edutainment. Teaching Statistics, 43(3), 124-128. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/test.12284
L. Lesser (July 2021). The Power of a Double Take: Doubling Back to Show Growth in a Pandemic. Journal of Humanistic Mathematics, 11(2), 301-308. https://scholarship.claremont.edu/jhm/vol11/iss2/17/, 10.5642/jhummath.202102.17
L. Lesser (July 2021 issue published on 7/27/2021). Teaching Center Director Helps His Statistics Students Center. Mindful Moment Newsletter (of the Mindfulness & Contemplative Pedagogy Special Interest Group of the POD Network), https://mailchi.mp/7b741988f42c/mindful-moment-newsletter-19192932?e=c3db368f87
L. Lesser & D. Pearl (July 1, 2021). Integrating Educational Fun into Teaching Statistics, peer-reviewed breakout session, 9th United States Conference on Teaching Statistics. https://www.causeweb.org/cause/uscots/uscots21/integrating-educational-fun-teaching-statistics (recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hCVtjbQv1_Q)
L. Lesser (June 2021). “Stats Class ‘Stanza Part’ with Poetry!”, refereed poster, 9th United States Conference on Teaching Statistics.
L. Lesser & D. Pearl (summer 2021). Statistical edutainment: putting it to the test, Teaching Statistics, 43(2), 92-99. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/test.12262
D. Pearl & L. Lesser (spring 2021). Statistical edutainment that lines up and fits, Teaching Statistics, 43(1), 45-51. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1111/test.12241
L. Lesser & D. Pearl (fall 2020). Statistical edutainment: Correlation recreation. Teaching Statistics, 42(3), 126-131. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1111/test.12228
G. Karaali & L. Lesser (Sept. 2020). A modest proposal. The Mathematical Intelligencer, 42(3), 55-56. (published online Jan. 1, 2020 at https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00283-019-09961-0)
L. Lesser & D. Pearl (July 26, 2020). Using Educational Fun Items To Increase Student Learning and Engagement, birds of a feather roundtable, Section on Statistics and Data Science Education, 2020 Joint Statistical Meetings, https://psu.zoom.us/rec/share/u5B3Cb_t8SRISKvHtmyGB_Y-P8e7eaa82nJK-aUFyBsv_GXc3XhnEmTpOccKXrKw
Informal Music Night (Aug. 5) for 2020 BRIDGES Conference on Mathematics, Art, Music, Architecture, Education, Culture, https://youtu.be/vQCk-lxk8Zc?t=5287
L. Lesser (August 2020). Invited contribution to the Virtual Poetry Reading page for 2020 Bridges conference: https://www2.math.uconn.edu/~glaz/Mathematical_Poetry_at_Bridges/Bridges_2020/The-program-and-the-poets-2020.html
Lesser, L. & Pearl, D. (July 26, 2020). Using Educational Fun Items To Increase Student Learning and Engagement. Birds of a Feather (virtual) session, Joint Statistical Meetings
D. Pearl & L. Lesser (summer 2020). Statistical edutainment that counts. Teaching Statistics, 42(2), 66-71. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1111/test.12219.
Dennis Pearl, Matthew Beckman, Neil Hatfield, Yiyun Gong, Sean Klavans, Larry Lesser (May 19, 2020). “Bayesian Network Analysis of log file data from students using SMILES interactive statistics songs,” videoposter, 2020 Electronic Conference on Teaching Statistics, https://www.CAUSEweb.org/cause/ecots/ecots20/posters/2-04
Larry Lesser, Merryl Goldberg, Lucy Irving (May 19, 2020). “Engaging students in statistics through the arts,” invited panel, 2020 Electronic Conference on Teaching Statistics, https://www.CAUSEweb.org/cause/ecots/ecots20/panels/1
Gregory J. Crowther, Jason Wessels, Lawrence M. Lesser, & Jennifer L. Breckler (March 2020). Is memorization the name of the game? Undergraduates’ perceptions of the usefulness of physiology songs. Advances in Physiology Education, 44(1), 104-112. https://journals.physiology.org/doi/full/10.1152/advan.00112.2019 (related talk given at 3rd annual VOICES conference: https://www.causeweb.org/voices/2019/session/1-4 )
D. Pearl & L. Lesser (spring 2020). Statistical edutainment with confidence. Teaching Statistics, 42 (1), 23-27. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1111/test.12213
L. Lesser (Jan. 2020). Statistical poetry. Journal of Humanistic Mathematics, 10 (1), 533-539. https://scholarship.claremont.edu/jhm/vol10/iss1/29/
L. Lesser (Jan. 2020). first-place (non-student category) haiku in American Statistical Association’s national contest
Lesser, L.M., Pearl, D.K., Weber, J.J., Dousa, D.M., Carey, R.P., & Haddad, S.A. (2019). Developing Interactive Educational Songs for Introductory Statistics. Journal of Statistics Education, 27(3), 238-252. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/10691898.2019.1677533
Crowther, G. & Lesser, L. (Sept. 22, 2019). Just Add Water? A Conversation About Resources to Support Songs, third annual VOICES conference, https://www.causeweb.org/voices/2019/session/3-1
Lesser, L.M. & Pearl, D.K. (Autumn 2019). Statistical edutainment: Reversing comparisons. Teaching Statistics, 41(3), 118-122. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1111/test.12203
D.K. Pearl, L.M. Lesser, & J.J. Weber (July 29, 2019, 10:30-12:30), “Teaching introductory statistics with web-based interactive song activities”, contributed poster (#302999), 2019 Joint Statistical Meetings, Denver, CO
D.K. Pearl & L.M. Lesser (July 28, 2019, 8:30-10:30pm), “Educational Fun at Your Fingertips!”, invited e-poster at Opening Mixer (abstract 307444), 2019 Joint Statistical Meetings, Denver, CO
D.K. Pearl, L.M. Lesser, & J.J. Weber (May 18, 2019). Stats and Beyond: Using Song in STEM. Physical poster and webpage for 2019 United States Conference on Teaching Statistics, https://www.causeweb.org/cause/uscots/uscots19/posters/2-01 and https://rstudio.aws.science.psu.edu:3838/rpc5102/uscots19/posters/2-01/ and https://www.causeweb.org/cause/sites/default/files/uscots/uscots19/posters/2-01/Stats_and_Beyond_-_Using_Songs_in_STEM.html
Pearl/Lesser/Weber (May 2019). Peer-reviewed breakout session, “Break into SMILES: exploring web-based ‘interactive’ songs”, 2019 United States Conference on Teaching Statistics, https://www.causeweb.org/cause/uscots/uscots19/breakout/4D
Lesser/Pearl/Weber (May 3, 2019). Grand Prize (in Mid/Advanced Career category) of 2019 NSF We Are Mathematics Video Competitionfor 3-minute video athttps://www.causeweb.org/smiles/ ; media coverage includes: July 2019 Amstat News, https://www.facebook.com/UTEPMiners/posts/10156083180686160, https://www.facebook.com/UTEP-College-of-Science-324941569578/, https://www.utep.edu/newsfeed/campus/UTEP-Mathe-musicians-Project-Earns-NSF-Accolade.html?fbclid=IwAR2Srl81yjT24akAg93zMOqQioXVBL7am9sCLUrival6a7LAiaU2dQib3gY, https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLIOLldoXqZH_27xfQSRV-256Agf_mGWRm, https://wearemathematics2019.skild.com/, and video-of-the-day on the NSF-sponsored Science360 Video Library: https://science360.gov/obj/tkn-video/72c56a98-abc0-4333-8a51-494f8247ff33/interactive-educational-statistics-songs
Pearl, J. Weber, L. Lesser (April 12, 2019). Interactive Song Activities for Introductory Statistics, poster, A National Convening on the Integration of Arts, Humanities, and STEMM in Higher Education, National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DC, https://www.eventbrite.com/e/a-national-convening-on-the-integration-the-arts-humanities-and-stemm-in-higher-ed-tickets-53159362083#
Lesser, L. (taped March 14, 2019; aired March 15, 2019 and March 13, 2020). Pi Day interview (15+ minutes) of Larry by Louie Saenz, regional NPR station KTEP-FM: https://www.ktep.org/post/focus-campus-larry-lesser-1 or https://larrylesser.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/rough-recording-pi-day-2020-on-Ktep.mp3
Lesser, L.M. & Dousa, D. M. (March 1, 2019), The design and assessment of interactive songs for teaching statistics: An NSF-funded interdisciplinary adventure. Rocky Mountain Music Scholars Conference (Southwest Chapter of the Society for Ethnomusicology), El Paso, TX. https://www.utep.edu/liberalarts/music/events/RockyMountainConference_2019.html
D.K. Pearl, L. M. Lesser, & J.J. Weber (Feb. 2019). Web-based interactive song activities for intro statistics, poster, III International Virtual Congress on Statistical Education, https://www.ugr.es/~fqm126/civeest/posters/pearl_pos.pdf
Weber, J., Pearl, D.K., & Lesser, L. (Jan. 2019). Project SMILES: Student-Made Interactive Learning with Educational Songs, invited poster at MAA and NSF joint poster session for holders of NSF DUE awards in the mathematical sciences (organizer: Jon Scott). Joint Mathematics Meetings, Baltimore, MD.
Lesser, L. (Pearl, D. & Weber, J.) & Greg Crowther (Sept. 2018). “Writing or Adapting Songs for Student Inputs to Make Interactive STEM Songs”, contributed presentation, annual conference of VOICES (Virtual Ongoing Interdisciplinary Collaborations on Educating with Song), https://www.CAUSEweb.org/voices/2018/session/8
Lesser, L. (Sept. 2018). “Making History: Using History Songs to Humanize (Math/Statistics) Content, Class, and Instructors”, contributed videoposter, annual conference of VOICES (Virtual Ongoing Interdisciplinary Collaborations on Educating with Song), https://www.CAUSEweb.org/voices/2018/poster/2 (with archived discussion at https://www.CAUSEweb.org/voices/2018/session/9)
Dennis Pearl (Sept. 2018), Let’s Move the VOICES Initiative to a Higher Pitch, annual conference of VOICES (Virtual Ongoing Interdisciplinary Collaborations on Educating with Song), https://www.CAUSEweb.org/voices/2018/program
Lesser, L. (Autumn 2018). Modulating Misconceptions with Musical Means. Teaching Statistics, 40(3), 79-82. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/test.12157
Carey, B. (July 31, 2018). Student Made Interactive Learning with Educational Songs (SMILES). Invited presentation for The Big Picture conference, Eberly College of Science, Penn State.
Lesser/Pearl/Weber (July 2018). Using Innovative Technology and Interactive Songs to Engage All Students in Statistics, competitively-selected contributed session, Conference for the Advancement of Mathematics Teaching, Houston, TX
Lesser/Pearl/Weber (June 2018). Using Innovative Technology and Interactive Songs to Engage Students in Standards-based Introductory Statistics Learning Objectives: Discussing Lessons Learned from NSF-funded Project SMILES. Competitively-selected contributed paper, TODOS 2018 national conference, Scottsdale, AZ. http://www.todos-math.org/todos2018
Pearl/Weber/Lesser (May 24, 2018). Student-Made Interactive Learning with Educational Songs (SMILES). Workshop, invited, 4th Electronic Conference on Teaching Statistics. (the 74 minutes in whole-room mode from the workshop archived at https://www.CAUSEweb.org/cause/ecots/ecots18/workshops/2 )
Lesser, L. (May 24, 2018). Student-Created Songs in Statistics Class, competitively-selected contributed videoposter, 4th Electronic Conference on Teaching Statistics, archived at https://www.CAUSEweb.org/cause/ecots/ecots18/posters/4-04
Pearl/Weber/Lesser (May 14-21, 2018). Learning Introductory Statistics with Interactive Songs, competitively-selected video presentation, 2018 NSF STEM for All Video Showcase: Transforming the Educational Landscape (http://stemforall2018.videohall.com/presentations/1242) https://www.utep.edu/newsfeed/utep-professor-selected-for-nsf-video-showcase-highlighting-innovation-in-stem-education.html
collection of interactive statistics songs launched May 2018 at https://www.CAUSEweb.org/smiles/
Lesser et al. (April 2018). Full STEAM Ahead: Engaging, Empowering, and Educating Students with Interactive (Statistics) Songs. Competitively-selected contributed presentation. National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Annual Meeting & Exposition. Washington, DC.
Weber/Pearl/Lesser (March 2018). Using Interactive Songs to Increase Student Engagement and Learning Statistics, Competitively-selected contributed presentation, International Conference on Technology in Collegiate Mathematics, Washington, DC.
Lesser, L. (Spring 2018). Classroom notes: One in ten. Teaching Statistics, 40(1), 33-34. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1111/test.12148
Weber, J., Pearl, D.K., & Lesser, L. (Jan. 2018). Project SMILES: Student-Made Interactive Learning with Educational Songs, invited poster at MAA and NSF joint poster session for holders of NSF DUE awards in the mathematical sciences (organizer: Jon Scott). Joint Mathematics Meetings, San Diego, CA.
Weber et al. (Nov. 2017). Using Web-Based Interactive Songs to Help Students Learn Statistics, competitively-selected contributed presentation, 43rd AMATYC Annual Conference, San Diego, CA. https://c.ymcdn.com/sites/amatyc.site-ym.com/resource/resmgr/2017_conference_proceedings/s002_-_weber.pdf
Pearl/Lesser/Weber/Dousa (Oct. 26-28, 2017). A web-based interface to support interactive songs: Helping college students learn STEM. competitively-selected contributed presentation, Joint meeting of the Association for Technology in Music Instruction and The College Music Society in San Antonio, TX.
Lesser, L. (Sept. 27-28, 2017). A continuum of interactivity with (mathematics/statistics) songs. Invited reviewed presentation, VOICES: Virtual Ongoing Interdisciplinary Conferences on Educating with Song. https://www.causeweb.org/voices/2017/panel/1-3
Pearl, D., & Weber, J. (Sept.27-28, 2017). Demonstrating an Interactive Song for Learning Introductory Statistics: The Novel Innovation of NSF-funded Project SMILES. Reviewed presentation, VOICES: Virtual Ongoing Interdisciplinary Conferences on Educating with Song, videoposter at https://www.causeweb.org/voices/2017/poster/8
Weber/Lesser/Pearl (May 2017). Project SMILES: Student-Made Interactive Learning with Educational Songs in introductory statistics. Poster, 7th United States Conference on Teaching Statistics, Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA. https://www.CAUSEweb.org/cause/uscots/uscots17/posters/2-03
Weber/Lesser/Pearl (May 2017). Teaching with fun. Birds-of-a-feather roundtable, 7th United States Conference on Teaching Statistics, Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA. https://www.CAUSEweb.org/cause/uscots/uscots17/birds-of-a-feather/S05
Pearl/Lesser/Weber (May 2017). Show Me How to Use Interactive Statistics Songs! half-day workshop at 7th United States Conference on Teaching Statistics, Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA. https://www.CAUSEweb.org/cause/uscots/uscots17/workshop/8
Lesser, L., Pearl, D.K., & Weber, J. (April 2017). Changing the rhythm of math class: Using educational songs to cultivate learning and community, 60-minute session, NCTM Annual Meeting & Exposition, San Antonio, TX.
Dousa, D., & Lesser, L. (March 2017). Project SMILES (Student-Made Interactive Learning with Educational Songs): A Model for Interdisciplinary Projects in Music and the STEM Sciences. Rocky Mountain Chapter Conference of the College Music Society, Eastern New Mexico University, Portales, NM. Abstract at: https://www.music.org/pdf/conf/reg/rm/2017schedule.pdf
John Weber et al. (March 2017). Project SMILES: Student-Made Interactive Learning with Educational Songs for Introductory Statistics, poster, 29th International Conference on Technology in Collegiate Mathematics, Chicago, IL.
John Weber et al. (March 2017) Using Interactive Songs to Engage Students in Learning Introductory Statistics: Overview of NSF-Funded Project, paper, 29th International Conference on Technology in Collegiate Mathematics, Chicago, IL.
John Weber et al. (March 4, 2017). Using Interactive Songs to Engage Students in Learning Introductory Statistics: Overview of NSF-Funded Project, talk, Teaching Matters Conference, Gordon State College, Barnesville, GA.
John Weber et al. (Feb. 17, 2017). Using Interactive Songs to Engage Students in Learning Introductory Statistics: Overview of NSF-Funded Project, presentation at 30th Annual Mathematics Conference — Perimeter College at Georgia State University. Clarkston, GA.
Lesser, L. (Jan. 2017). Moving between inner and outer worlds [set of 10 math/stat poems with introductory comments]. Journal of Humanistic Mathematics, 7(1), 275-284. http://scholarship.claremont.edu/jhm/vol7/iss1/21/
Weber, J., Pearl, D.K., & Lesser, L. (Jan. 2017). Using interactive songs to engage students in learning introductory statistics: Overview of NSF-funded project, contributed paper at MAA Session on Humor and Mathematics (organizers: Debra Korkovitz, Gizem Karaali, Semra Kilic-Bahi, Cesar Martinez-Garza). Joint Mathematics Meetings, Atlanta, GA.http://jointmathematicsmeetings.org/amsmtgs/2180_abstracts/1125-d5-3014.pdf
Weber, J., Pearl, D.K., & Lesser, L. (January 2017). Project SMILES: Student-Made Interactive Learning with Educational Songs, poster at MAA and NSF joint poster session for holders of NSF DUE awards in the mathematical sciences (organizer: Jon Scott). Joint Mathematics Meetings, Atlanta, GA.
Weber, J.J., Lesser, L., & Pearl, D.K. (Nov. 2016). Student-made interactive learning with educational songs in statistics, poster, annual meeting of American Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges. Denver, CO.
Lesser, L. M., Reyes, R., Pearl, D., & Weber, J. (Nov. 2016). Fun Fosters Educational Community Culture. Research session for Professional and Organizational Development (POD) Network in Higher Education Conference, Louisville, KY. http://podnetwork.org/content/uploads/2016-POD-Program-Draft-21Oct2016.pdf
Lesser, L. M., Pearl, D. K., & Weber, J. J. (July 2016). Assessing fun items’ effectiveness in increasing learning of college introductory statistics students: Results of a randomized experiment. Journal of Statistics Education, 24(2), 54-62. http://tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/10691898.2016.1190190?needAccess=true [one of 4 articles selected for summarization in debut digest episode (#1716, 12/21/17) of Math Ed Podcast]
Lesser, L., An, S., & Tillman, D. A. (June 2016). The use of song to open an educational development workshop: Exploratory analysis and reflection. To Improve the Academy: A Journal of Educational Development, 35(2), 284-302.
Oh, Hyen [undergraduate], Pearl, D., Lesser, L. & Weber, J. (May 2016). Gender differences in statistical anxiety. Archived poster presentation, 3rd Electronic Conference on Teaching Statistics. https://www.CAUSEweb.org/cause/ecots/ecots16/posters/a/9
Lesser, L., Dousa, D., Haddad, S., Pearl, D., & Weber, J. (March 2016). Interactive songs to engage students learning introductory statistics: Overview of NSF-funded project. Podium talk at 13th International Sun Conference on Teaching and Learning. El Paso, TX.
Lesser, L. (March 12-18, 2016). Music = Math!, The Mini Page, no. 11 [Universal Press Syndicate educational children’s weekly feature read by an estimated 20 million readers across 500+ newspapers in the US and abroad]
Crowther, G. (February 18, 2016). STEM songster interview #19: Professor [Larry] Lesser. http://singaboutscience.org/wp/2016/02/18/stem-songster-interview-19-professor-lesser/
Lesser, L.M., Weber, J.J., & Pearl, D. K. (2016). Using targeted fun in college introductory statistics to decrease anxiety and increase learning: Research, resources, and recommendations [contributed paper at 2016 Joint Mathematics Meetings]. In Carla D. Savage (Ed.), Abstracts of papers presented to the American Mathematical Society, vol. 37, no. 1, issue 183, p. 389. http://jointmathematicsmeetings.org/amsmtgs/2181_abstracts/1116-h5-1335.pdf
Lesser, L. (December 2015). ‘American Pi’: The Story of a Song about Pi. Journal of Mathematics Education, 8(2), 158-168. http://educationforatoz.com/images/2015_Larry_Lesser.pdf
Lesser, L. (November 19, 2015). The Gambler. Invited performance at National Museum of Mathematics. https://www.CAUSEweb.org/cause/resources/fun/videos/gambler
Lesser, L.M. & Reyes, R. (June 2015). Student Reactions to the Integration of Fun Material in a High-Anxiety Subject: A Case Study in the Teaching of College Introductory Statistics. Transformative Dialogues: Teaching and Learning Journal, 8(1), 1-19. http://www.kpu.ca/sites/default/files/Transformative%20Dialogues/TD.8.1.6_Lesser%26Reyes_.Case_Study_Statistics_Fun.pdf
Weber, J.J., Pearl, D.K., & Lesser, L. (May 2015). Fun in statistics class: A vehicle for students to make connections. Competitively-selected breakout session presented twice at 6th United States Conference on Teaching Statistics. Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA. https://www.CAUSEweb.org/uscots/uscots15/sessions.php#weber
Lesser, L. M. & Weber, J. (2015). Research, resources, and recommendations for using humor/fun in college mathematics and statistics courses: Lessons learned from survey research and NSF-funded randomized experiments and a case study [contributed paper at 2015 Joint Mathematics Meetings]. In Abstracts of papers presented to the American Mathematical Society. vol. 36, no. 1, issue 179, p. 354. https://jointmathematicsmeetings.org/amsmtgs/2168_abstracts/1106-e5-1292.pdf
Lesser, L. (November 2014). Research, Rationale, and resources for leveraging fun into learning. Research session for Professional and Organizational Development (POD) Network in Higher Education Conference, Dallas, TX. http://podnetwork.org/content/uploads/2014PODConferenceProgram.pdf
Lesser, L. (November 21, 2014). Using ‘Fun’ in the Statistics Classroom: Research and Recommendations. Invited Research Burst talk, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics regional conference, Houston, TX.http://www.nctm.org/uploadedFiles/Conferences_and_Professional_Development/Regional_Conferences_and_Expositions/Houston_Program_Book_Full.pdf
Lesser, L. (2014). Mathematical lyrics: Noteworthy endeavours in education. Journal of Mathematics and the Arts, 8(1-2), 46-53. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/17513472.2014.950833 (includes a “cartoon abstract”!)
Lesser, L., Reyes, R., Pearl, D., Weber, J. (July 2014). Preliminary results of the effects and roles of fun in introductory statistics classes [Poster abstract]. In K. Makar, B. de Sousa, & R. Gould (Eds.), Sustainability in statistics education. Proceedings of the Ninth International Conference on Teaching Statistics (ICOTS9, July, 2014), Flagstaff, AZ, USA. Voorburg, The Netherlands: International Statistical Institute. http://icots.info/9/proceedings/pdfs/ICOTS9_P40_LesserPearlReyesWeber.pdf
Lesser, L. (2014). Teaching statistics for engagement beyond classroom walls, invited paper,. In K. Makar, B. de Sousa, & R. Gould (Eds.), Sustainability in statistics education. Proceedings of the Ninth International Conference on Teaching Statistics (ICOTS9, July, 2014), Flagstaff, Arizona, USA. Voorburg, The Netherlands: International Statistical Institute. http://icots.info/9/proceedings/pdfs/ICOTS9_7A2_LESSER.pdf
Lesser, L. (June 2014). Overcoming statistical anxiety and being successful in data analysis. In Amanda J. Rockinson-Szapkiw & Lucinda S. Spaulding (Eds.), Navigating the doctoral journey: A handbook of strategies for success (pp. 65-75). Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield.
Keith Pannell’s interview of Larry Lesser aired on NPR-affiliate KTEP-FM on 5/29/2014 in the series “100@100: Research for Our Next Century” http://ktep.org/post/100-100-larry-lesser#stream/0
Lesser, L., Pattanayak, C. W., & Pruim, R. (May 25, 2014). Panel on ‘Bridging the Disciplines’ for second Electronic Conference on Teaching Statistics (eCOTS), https://www.CAUSEweb.org/ecots/ecots14/51/.
Lesser, L., Pearl, D., Reyes, R., & Weber, J. (May 20, 2014). Bridging the disciplines with fun: Resources and research. Competitively-selected breakout session for second Electronic Conference on Teaching Statistics (eCOTS), https://www.CAUSEweb.org/ecots/ecots14/32/
Lesser, L., Carver, R., & Erickson, P. (August 20, 2013). Using fun in the statistics classroom: An exploratory study of college instructors’ hesitations and motivations. Invited Journal of Statistics Education webinar for Consortium for the Advancement of Undergraduate Statistics Education, archived at https://www.CAUSEweb.org/webinar/jse/2013-08/
Lesser, L. (2013). Exploring (and removing) hesitations to using (thoughtful) fun in statistics classes. Proceedings of the 2013 Joint Statistical Meetings, Section on Statistical Education (pp. 534-536). Alexandria, VA: American Statistical Association. https://larrylesser.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/JSM2013.pdf
Robertson, W. & Lesser, L. (July 2013). Scientific skateboarding and mathematical music: Edutainment that actively engages middle school students. European Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, 1(2), 60-68. http://www.scimath.net/articles/12/123.pdf
Lesser, L. (May 2013). Plenary featured banquet edutainment. 5th United States Conference on Teaching Statistics. Cary, NC. https://www.CAUSEweb.org/resources/fun/db.php?id=527
Study of Fun cluster group [Lesser, Wall, Carver, Pearl, Martin, Kuiper, Posner, Erickson, Liao, Albert, & Weber] (May 2013). Using fun in the statistics classroom: An exploratory study of hesitations and motivations of USCOTS 2011 attendees, Poster and Beyond, United States Conference on Teaching Statistics, Cary, NC. Abstract published in online conference program, https://www.CAUSEweb.org/uscots/uscots13/posters/
Lesser, L.M., Wall, A., Carver, R., Pearl, D.K., Martin, N., Kuiper, S., Posner, M. A., Erickson, P., Liao, S.-M., Albert, J., & Weber, J.J. (March 2013). Using fun in the statistics classroom: An exploratory study of college instructors’ hesitations and motivations. Journal of Statistics Education, 21(1), 1-33. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/10691898.2013.11889659?needAccess=true
Lesser, L. (2013). Poetic Reactions. Journal of Humanistic Mathematics, 3(1), 156-161. http://scholarship.claremont.edu/jhm/vol3/iss1/13/
Lesser, L. (2012). Using snakes to constrict statistics anxiety. Teaching Statistics, 34(3), 111. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1467-9639.2012.00519.x
Lesser, L. (2012). Three Mathematical Lyrics. Journal of Humanistic Mathematics, 2(1), 104-106. http://scholarship.claremont.edu/jhm/vol2/iss1/9/
Glickman, M., Lesser, L., et al. (May 2011). USCOTS Theater: Show us the Next Big Thing! invited breakout session, 4th United States Conference on Teaching Statistics, Cary, NC.
R. Carver, P. Erickson, S. Kuiper, L. Lesser, D. Pearl, M. Posner, & A. Wall (May 2011), A Little Fun Makes a Big Difference, invited poster, 4thUnited States Conference on Teaching Statistics, Cary, NC.
Lesser, L. (November 2009). Composing Connections: Mathemusician Merges Math and Music in the Music City! opening plenary keynote, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Regional Conference and Exposition, Nashville, TN.
S. Kuiper, L. Lesser, D. Pearl, & M. Posner (June 2009). Letting Go of the Idea that Stats Class Can’t be Fun and FUNctional, invited poster session at 3rd United States Conference on Teaching Statistics, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, June 2009.
Lesser, L. M. & Glickman, M. E. (2009). Using magic in the teaching of probability and statistics. Model Assisted Statistics and Applications, 4(4), 265-274.
Lesser, L. & Pearl, D. (2008). Functional fun in statistics teaching: Resources, research, and recommendations. Journal of Statistics Education, 16(3), 1-11. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/10691898.2008.11889572?needAccess=true; this article is listed as one of the most-cited articles in the journal’s history: https://www.tandfonline.com/action/showMostCitedArticles?journalCode=ujse20
Lesser, L. (July-August 2008). Non-Monotone Math Song Sing-Along!, invited plenary banquet presentation, annual summer meeting of Mathematical Association of America, Madison, WI.
Lesser, L. (2008). Even More Fun Learning Stats. STATS, 49, pp. 5-8, 19, 27. [issue is at https://www.CAUSEweb.org/cause/archive/stats/STATS_49.pdf ; https://www.causeweb.org/cause/filebrowser/download/354]
Lesser, L. (2007). Learning Stats is FUN…with the Right Mode. STATS, 48, pp. 7-11, 21, 26-28. [issue is at https://www.CAUSEweb.org/cause/archive/stats/STATS_48.pdf ; https://www.causeweb.org/cause/filebrowser/download/347 ]
Lesser, L. (2007 – present). Features where a comic strip is accompanied by classroom-ready questions, including Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School “Cartoon Corner” (A Round This Date in Time; Pizza Pi, Anyone? in March 2007) and Mathematics Teacher “Media Clips” (Stature of Salary: Raised Expectations or a Tall Tale? in Oct. 2016, Normally Speaking in Feb. 2015, Lottery Lunacy in Sept. 2012, The High School Weirdness Factor in Mar. 2010, Safe Havens graph in May 2008).
D. Pearl & L. Lesser (May 2007). Using Fun to Take Statistics Teaching Up a Notch, invited breakout session, 2nd United States Conference on Teaching Statistics, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, May 2007.
Lesser, L. (April 11, 2006). Making statistics learning fun. CAUSE webinar archived at: https://www.CAUSEweb.org/cause/webinar/teaching/2006-04/
Consortium for the Advancement of Undergraduate Statistics Education (CAUSE) (August 2004 – present). Dennis Pearl launches CAUSE website which includes a highly-visited fun resources collection (https://www.CAUSEweb.org/resources/fun/) that now includes 840+ items, a user’s guide (https://www.CAUSEweb.org/cause/resources/fun/references), an educational fun items contest since 2006 (https://www.CAUSEweb.org/cause/a-mu-sing/), and a monthly cartoon caption contest since 2016 (https://www.CAUSEweb.org/cause/caption-contest/).
Lesser, L. (2003). Further comments and cautions on using humor [comment on Friedman, Friedman, & Amoo, 2002]. Journal of Statistics Education, 11(1). http://www.amstat.org/publications/jse/v11n1/lesser_letter.html
Lesser, L. (2002). Stat Song Sing-Along! STATS, 33, pp. 16-17.
Lesser, L. (2001). Musical means: Using songs in teaching statistics. Teaching Statistics, 23(3), 81-85.
Lesser, L. (2000). Sum of Songs: Making Mathematics Less Monotone! Mathematics Teacher, 93(5), 372-377.
Lesser, L. (1996 – present). About 100 mathematics/statistics/education lyrics published in over two dozen periodicals, including: Mathematics Teacher, Pi in the Sky, The Pi, Journal of Irreproducible Results, Convergence, Math Horizons, Journal of Mathematics Education, Amstat News, Teaching Statistics, Humanistic Mathematics Network Journal, Journal of Humanistic Mathematics, (GCTM)Reflections, (GCTM) eReflections, The Problem Solver: A Math Newsletter for Adult Educators, Texas Mathematics Teacher, Journal of Mathematics and the Arts, STATS, News from the World of Statistics, Colorado Mathematics Teacher, The American Mathematical Monthly, To Improve the Academy, Noticias de TODOS, and Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School. Some songs have won awards in national contests (e.g., sponsored by American Statistical Association, National Museum of Mathematics, Quantitative Literacy SIGMAA, or Consortium for the Advancement of Undergraduate Statistics Education.) Also, 60+ mathematics/statistics/education poems published in many venues including: Talking Writing, The Mathematical Intelligencer, BorderSenses Literary Magazine, Journal of the Association of Mexican American Educators, Amstat News, Journal of Humanistic Mathematics, Texas Mathematics Teacher, Teaching for Excellence and Equity in Mathematics, Teaching Statistics, Radical Statistics, Bridges Poetry Anthology, and major mathematical poetry blogs (Kaz Maslanka; JoAnne Growney). Also I wrote/captioned a dozen mathematics/statistics cartoons at https://www.CAUSEweb.org/fun/ or https://www.CAUSEweb.org/cause/caption-contest/ .
team of PIs
Lawrence M. Lesser (http://www.math.utep.edu/Faculty/lesser/) is Professor of Mathematical Sciences (and a UTEP Distinguished Teaching Professor) at The University of Texas at El Paso, where he also directed for 3 years UTEP’s campus-wide teaching center. His statistics education research has led to several awards, service on editorial boards, and textbook co-authorship. He worked with UTEP Music Dept. faculty Dominic Dousa and Steve Haddad on the NSF SMILES grant and worked with Rey Reyes from UTEP College of Education on the NSF UPLIFT grant. A recent interview of Lesser is HERE.
Dennis K. Pearl (http://stat.psu.edu/people/dkp13) is Professor of Statistics at Pennsylvania State University, having recently moved there from Ohio State. Dennis has directed CAUSE since 2002. He has authored many national grants and papers in both statistics and statistics education. A recent interview of Pearl is HERE.
John J. Weber (http://depts.gpc.edu/~clamcse/faculty.html) is a tenured Associate Professor of Mathematics at Perimeter College at Georgia State University (called Georgia Perimeter College before Jan. 6, 2016), where he has been teaching advanced mathematics since 2003 and won its Excellence in Teaching Award in 2016. His current research interests include the effect of using fun on student learning and anxiety in the statistics classroom, the effective use of technology in post-secondary mathematics, and how to engage students through inquiry-based learning. A recent story on Weber is HERE.
MOST RECENT GRANT:
Collaborative proposal: SMILES: Student-Made Interactive Learning with Educational Songs for Introductory Statistics NSF Div. of Undergraduate Education (DUE) EAGER (Early-concept Grants for Exploratory Research) grant (Sept. 15, 2015 – Aug. 31, 2020) PSU (1544426); UTEP (1544237); GPC (1544243)
Abstract: In our increasingly data-centric world, statistical reasoning (reasoning about data in the context of uncertainty) has become central to the skills our nation needs students to develop. Unfortunately, students’ first experience with statistical reasoning remains in classrooms dominated by lectures rather than active learning experiences and dominated by instructors relatively untrained in the field. This is especially true at two-year colleges where adjunct instructors often find it difficult to take part in professional development opportunities, often perceive reform-based pedagogies as taking “extra work” when they already have an unreasonable workload, perceive new resources as being difficult to integrate into their current mode of instruction, and recognize the often severe “statistics anxiety” in their students. SMILES (Student-Made Interactive Learning with Educational Songs) for Introductory Statistics will develop and field-test an innovation in online learning where students create a song by filling in key words associated with a learning objective. These interactive songs will challenge students to make conceptual connections and construct examples or context, thereby fostering statistical literacy and reasoning skills. By reducing statistics anxiety (a key impediment to student success) and enhancing student learning, the potential impact is striking. Interactive songs are a novel learning resource that holds great potential for teaching literacy and reasoning skills in statistics and other STEM disciplines. The web-based, machine-run, and auto-graded characteristic of this resource will provide easy access to students anywhere anytime, and will address instructor hesitations regarding in-class use. For instructors, interactive songs will be readily adoptable regardless of pedagogy (e.g., as easily incorporated in a flipped class as in an online class, or a lecture/lab course), and provide a simple bridge to the statistics education reform movement for groups like two-year college adjuncts who remain otherwise disconnected. Most importantly, for students, these professional-quality interactive songs will be designed to engage, lessen anxiety, and foster active learning that enhances statistical reasoning skills. To enhance their value, the interactive songs developed by the SMILES project will involve a unique artist/scientist collaborative to create original high-quality musical resources. To evaluate their efficacy, we will conduct a randomized controlled field test involving twenty college level introductory statistics instructors (15 will be from two-year colleges and most with predominately African American and Hispanic student populations) in order to assess the value of interactive songs in enhancing student learning and reducing student anxiety.
Project Outcomes Report:
Remember how you learned the alphabet by singing it? What if songs could also help you learn a difficult subject like statistics? In a recent randomized experiment, we found students learned better when songs were inserted into online readings on statistical topics. Students who could hear the song and see the lyrics scored an average of about 7% higher on related exam questions compared to students who saw only readings on the topic. That study inspired us to make the songs even more interactive by having students give parts of the song in response to prompts, not unlike the word template game Mad Libs. This effort became Project SMILES (SMILES = Student-Made Interactive Learning with Educational Songs in introductory statistics; https://www.CAUSEweb.org/smiles/).
A SMILES activity works like this: Students respond to prompts on the statistical topic at hand. Those prompts might involve drag-and-drop matching, multiple-choice questions, fill-in-the-blank prompts, or even open-ended responses with related built-in hints and feedback that challenge students to connect context to the statistical concept. When all prompts have been appropriately answered, the interface moves to play back the song’s lyrics that are displayed and sung by a trained singer. The student’s responses are visually highlighted and generally sung with a synthetic voice.
Our songs have been tested and piloted with diverse student populations at two- and four-year colleges. Students self-reported that SMILES songs helped reduce anxiety, increase engagement with the material, was relevant to their learning, and had a user-friendly interface. Also, students using three SMILES songs in a classroom activity performed much better on a post-lab quiz than they did on similar pre-song questions.
The SMILES library of 28 short songs is also user-friendly for instructors. It’s portable to any class delivery format. Students can readily enjoy SMILES songs at home as an engaging online experience with no class time needed. The SMILES approach also would work for other STEM disciplines, as we shared at a recent VOICES conference about teaching with song in STEM. Project SMILES makes learning statistics as easy as A-B-C, where A = Authentic context, B = Before-song prompts, and C = Complete & Celebrate the song!
Released in May 2018, the SMILES songs were constructed to align with discipline-recommended specific learning objectives that span virtually all major topics in an introductory statistics course at a four- or two-year college. The songs were recorded in a state-of-the-art studio and written by songwriters who had both statistics content expertise (e.g., a CPA, an actuary, graduate statistics degree holders, and former or present college statistics instructors) and songwriting expertise (including a graduate music degree, album cuts, and ASCAP and other music awards). The songs can be used as either finished songs to hear, interactive songs to be completed by students, performed with sheet music or karaoke tracks, paired with readings, or sequenced with other activities in a lesson progression. Thus, we turn STEM into STEAM without students or instructors needing special musical talent. Instructors on at least 5 continents have broken into SMILES!
Finally, to maximize impact and dissemination, project resources are freely online for statistics teachers. Project leaders also produced peer-reviewed papers and talks, conducted workshops, and archived varied online presentations and activities not only for fellow researchers, but also for the general public at events such as the National Math Festival and the NSF STEM for All Video Showcase.
Two supplemental grants from NSF allowed us (1) to evaluate and improve the SMILES innovation through log file analysis and (2) to extend the impact beyond statistics via the VOICES collaborative), and we now describe these two efforts:
The log files help us understand student interaction with software so we can see where students struggle and where they succeed; they show us usage patterns that reveal how students’ experiences are affected by hints and feedback and thus inform our tweaking of the intervention accordingly. Finally, they can be used as an endpoint in studies on what improves learning.
To broaden the impact of the SMILES project and building off of prior efforts in producing, collecting, and disseminating educational songs in STEM, VOICES (= Virtual Online Interdisciplinary Collaborations on Educating with Song) was formed to promote the effective use of song in STEM teaching and learning. VOICES collaborators include secondary school teachers, college instructors and administrators working in education from the middle school to college levels. This is a collaboration across multiple domains, including discipline-based educators (STEM and/or the arts), experienced songwriters and musicians, specialists in technology (including music technologies), science communication experts, education researchers, and leaders in arts integration. This faculty community has been working on several projects and has hosted 3 online conferences yielding 100 presentations archived at https://www.CAUSEweb.org/voices/ that thousands have accessed.
Spinoff of SMILES grant: VOICES
September 27-28, 2017 was the debut of VOICES (Virtual Ongoing Interdisciplinary Conferences on Educating with Song; https://www.CAUSEweb.org/voices/ ), the first-of-its-kind online conference on using music to teach college-level (including high school AP) STEM content. The conference was funded as part of the NSF grant Project SMILES (Student-Made Interactive Learning with Educational Songs), whose PIs are Larry Lesser (The University of Texas at El Paso), Dennis Pearl (Penn State), and John Weber (Perimeter College at Georgia State University). The inaugural conference chair was Greg Crowther, a college biology instructor who has written 100+ STEM songs, published several journal articles on teaching science with music, co-founded a science songwriters’ association, and founded a curated database of 7000+ STEM songs.
The conference featured two full days of (now-archived) programming over two days from the latest research, pedagogy, and practitioner perspectives, including interactive virtual poster sessions, interdisciplinary panels, and a keynote address by physics instructor and entertainer Lynda Williams (“The Physics Chanteuse”). The conference involved 71 registered attendees, 45 presenters, and 40 presentations. Participants spanned 22 states across the US as well as Canada and the United Kingdom. It was striking how almost all presentations applied to virtually all STEM disciplines, and participants spanned a very broad variety of disciplines, including all of the major STEM fields, as well as Education, English, Media & Information, and Performing Arts. There were also VOICES conferences in 2018 and 2019 and one is planned for 2021.
| EARLIER GRANT:
Collaborative Research Project UPLIFT: Universal Portability of Learning Increased by Fun Teaching NSF Div. of Undergraduate Education (DUE) TUES (Transforming Undergraduate Education in Science) Type 1 grant (Aug. 15, 2012-Aug. 15, 2016) OSU (1141261) PSU(1519554); UTEP (1140690); GPC (1140592)
Abstract: Project UPLIFT: Universal Portability of Learning Increased by Fun Teaching will offer college statistics teachers engaging classroom mini-lessons and resources consisting of “fun” items, spanning all main topics of introductory statistics, from the extensive, widely-visited CAUSEweb.org digital library. The fun items encompass many modalities, including cartoons, jokes, quotes, songs, poems, wordplay, and videos. UPLIFT will transform the undergraduate statistics classroom by putting fun items into well-indexed and annotated “classroom-ready” form with mini lesson plans for their use without requiring “special talent” – thus removing perceived barriers to use. UPLIFT materials will be assessed rigorously for their impact on student learning and student anxiety and attitudes towards the often-dreaded realm of introductory statistics. This will be done using a novel randomized controlled experiment and supporting interviews and observations of students. UPLIFT will disseminate methods and results through virtual and paper publications, conference presentations, and both general and customized webinars. UPLIFT’s impact will be broad — the fun-based items are being tailored for, and tested in, diverse populations of students representative of the 800,000 students taking introductory statistics each year in the United States. Project UPLIFT collaborating institutions are Ohio State University, University of Texas at El Paso, and Georgia Perimeter College.
UPLIFT Project Outcomes Report
Project UPLIFT: Universal Portability of Learning Increased by Fun Teaching aimed to enhance and field test the use of fun items, such as songs and cartoons, for learning introductory statistics.
Project UPLIFT enhanced the collection of fun items at www.CAUSEweb.org to make them easier and more pedagogically valuable for instructors’ use with searching, browsing, and annotated links to statistical concepts and references in the literature. The collection currently has 538 items including 97 songs, 132 cartoons, 33 poems, 38 jokes, 191 quotes, 17 videos, 23 artistic sketches, 3 puzzles, and 4 magic tricks. This resource is heavily used by college-level statistics teachers nationally (including those who teach AP Statistics in high school). Further, as part of the UPLIFT project, the Commercial Music Program at The University of Texas at El Paso produced high quality recordings of a preponderance of our educational songs so they could be used without requiring teacher talent.
In our field test, we hoped to show that such materials could enhance student learning and reduce student anxiety. Thus, we conducted a randomized experiment to understand the value of fun inserts in about 15 brief content readings that were developed to be aligned with course curriculum. Our results showed only a small positive effect, on average, for reducing student anxiety that was not statistically significant. However, we did find a statistically significant increase in learning, as students who were randomly assigned to hear songs about statistical concepts averaged 7.7% higher on embedded multiple-choice items in course exams. Finally, by conducting interviews and focus groups with students, we also gained a good deal of contextual information about student perceptions of the use of fun items in teaching and learning. In particular, our findings revealed that students valued, engaged in more, and felt they understood the material better when an instructor enacted a fun-enhanced pedagogy that built on the emotional aspects of teaching and learning.
To maximize impact and dissemination, project resources are freely online for statistics teachers. Project leaders also produced peer-reviewed papers and talks, conducted workshops, and archived a variety of online presentations and activities.
or enter Federal Award ID number in the search box of: https://www.research.gov/research-portal/appmanager/base/desktop?_nfpb=true&_eventName=viewQuickSearchFormEvent_so_rsr
another prior grant in this area:
Level 2 Round 3 Award from UTEP’s Interdisciplinary Research (IDR) Enhancement Program
Project: “Research on Contextualizing K-12 Mathematics Education within the Real World Context of Musical Composition and Musical Instrument Design”, January 1- Dec. 31, 2013, $20,000 grant was one of only 3 (i.e., top 7%) of proposals achieving this highest funding level