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George J. Roy, Jennifer A. Eli, Hendrix Leslie and LuAnn Graul

During World War II, the Allied Forces were concerned with the monthly production of tires, tanks, and other military equipment in Germany (Flaspohler and Dinkheller 1999; Ruggles and Brodie 1947). Knowing these production totals was important for international security. To determine military production, the Allied Forces in England recruited individuals from a wide range of educational and occupational backgrounds to help analyze serial numbers found on military equipment and to analyze secret codes (Pioneer Productions 2014). We used this historical context to challenge a class of twenty-six seventh-grade students to imagine themselves as one of these codebreaking analysts while studying random samples and learning to draw inferences about a population (CCSSI 2010).