Introductory statistics is a course dreaded by many students, and even some teaching staff, and for good reason: many introductory statistics courses deal with examples that are distant from students' experience, and so students never care about the course material, and focus simply on surviving the course by memorizing formulas and definitions. Thus, it's all too easy for introductory statistics to reduce to a series of "Is this going to be on the exam?" type of questions, which is no fun for either the students or the teachers.
This book presents a number of activities which can be done in large lecture courses or small sections to enliven introductory statistics courses. The best of the activities engage the students directly by collecting data from them; since everyone finds themself fascinating, such activities are an automatic hook into students' interest and truly motivate the material. Once the data has been collected from the students, the students can be asked for their predictions about the data, and for different aspects of the data. The teacher can ask questions such as the following, and be almost guaranteed that the students care about the answers to them: if X is true, what do we expect a scatterplot to look like? What would the correlation be? What kind of analysis can we do to figure out whether X is true? Now, what if Y is also true?
As any practicing statistician knows, such exploratory questions cut to the heart of statistics, so these activities succeed in giving students a real understanding of what it means to be doing statistics. That said, I have found some of the activities are more fun than educational; one activity reenacts the famous Fisher tea tasting experiment using soft drinks, as a Pepsi-type challenge. I used this activity with an introductory course which did not cover the exact test. While the students really enjoyed this activity, the amount of statistics involved in it is relatively small, so the activity degenerated into a discussion about the role of marketing in people's perception of the quality of a product. It was a good discussion and everyone enjoyed it, but I don't think that the students learned any statistics from it.
Overall, this book provides an engaging approach which would be beneficial for anyone who teaches statistics. Highly recommended.