The Scenario and Challenge

movie.png This project is designed to have students work through and master basic problems in probability, and then apply that knowledge to authentic issues in which statistics and probability play large roles. The topics should apply to teen interests and concerns. Students will be given the opportunity to research and choose their topic. However, topics may also be assigned by the teacher in one of four areas: 
  1. Driving and cell phone use
  2. Diet and health 
  3. Professional athletics
  4. Costs associated with a college education 

After researching the issue, students are expected to explain how probability affects their lives in each of these areas, and to make recommendations to other teens on actions that can improve their chances of making good decisions on each issue. 

The Scenario and Challenge

Students will form marketing research teams to investigate statistics and probability applications in areas of life relevant to their future and safety. Students may choose their own topic, but must do initial research showing that probability and statistics apply to their topic. If students cannot find a topic, or the teacher prefers to assign topics, students may research one of four predetermined topics: 

  1. Driving and cell phone use
  2. Diet and health 
  3. Professional athletics
  4. Costs associated with a college education 

Each team uses the statistics to create a public service message for teens. Based on their findings, what recommendations do they have for their fellow students? The public service message presentation can be digital, in the form of a website, Prezi, PowerPoint, or something more inventive. If technology is not available, students can create a skit, song, or game. The presentation cannot be longer than 5 minutes.

Even experts in probability often find probability to be confusing and counterintuitive. The challenge in this project is for students to understand probability and then examine their intuitive sense of luck or chance and compare it to the logic described by probability theory. After working though common probability problems and investigating current issues affected by probability, they should exit the project with an appreciation for probability and the knowledge that decisions lead to probable outcomes.

The reflection at the end of the project is important. Students should be expected to understand how probabilities apply to other areas of their lives in addition to the issues they have investigated. 

The Driving Question

In this project, the students will craft the final Driving Question for their particular focus of study, using the following template:

How can we use statistics and probability to advocate successfully for making informed decisions about [blank]? Students will choose their own topic of study or chose from four recommended topics: 

  1. Driving and cell phone use
  2. Diet and health 
  3. Professional athletics
  4. Costs associated with a college education 

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