Data and Probability

Activities for Super Bowl and Groundhog Day

Typical Super Bowl scores – Students reflect on the mean, median, and mode losing scores, winning scores, and range of scores from past Super Bowls as they try to predict this year’s scores. They decide how the next pair of scores…

Super Bowl ad costs still increasing

Budweiser’s “Puppy Love” commercial from Super Bowl XLIII Here’s one more Super Bowl analysis to motivate your students: More than 5 million dollars for a 30-second ad.  That is how much a one-half minute commercial will cost during the 2017…

Typical Super Bowl scores 2017

The Super Bowl is coming up!  Share a prediction for the score of the big game.  Don’t just guess, use math to help you get a better idea of what to expect.  What are typical scores of a Super Bowl?…

Super Bowl cheesy pretzel poppers

… A little more delicious work for the Super Bowl.  Students follow a recipe that involves “cutting the cheese” block, figuring how many servings, estimating how many times they need to multiply the recipe by to make enough pretzel bites, and…

Will Phil see his shadow?

Phil saw his shadow! February 2nd, Punxsutawney Phil will again, with great ceremony, come out of his burrow and look for his shadow. There’s nothing like a cute animal picture to make your students smile as they calculate the relative…

Lunar New Year, 2017

Lunar New Year begins on Saturday, January 28th. This will be the year of the Fire Rooster.  The year name is a combination of 10 Heavenly Stems and 12 Earthly Branches creating a sequence of year names that eventually repeat. Students…

Big Bucks

Giancarlo Stanton and Wayne Rooney signed big contracts recently, paying each of them millions.  Lets take a look at some of the world’s biggest sports contracts from the NBA, NHL, NFL, MLB and European Football (what Americans call soccer).  We often hear…

Civil rights marches, how do you count a crowd?

On October 16, 1995, perhaps a million black men gathered for the Million Man March on Washington.  This was 32 years after Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his historic “I have a dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial to 250,000 civil…

The Star Wars phenomena continues

Rogue One has only recently come out and grossed nearly 300 million dollars in its opening weekend. We were curious about how often and how profitable the Star Wars movies have been.  So we gathered data on each movie’s budget…

Home team advantage?

Even before your students check out the graphic below, ask them whether they think a game played at home gives their team an advantage.  If so, how much of an advantage?  Enjoy the discussion first.  Then show the graphic.

At least the days are getting longer

What’s your guess as to how fast the number of daylight hours will change each day from now until June 21st?  Will the changes be dramatic? Will the lengthening days be only a subtle change? Students make guesses; compute how…

Earth’s Perihelion

On Wednesday, January 4, 2017, Earth will be as close as it gets to the Sun during its orbit. Shouldn’t that make this the warmest time of the year? In this activity students become familiar with the terms perihelion and aphelion as they calculate…

Times Square New Year’s Eve ball drop

On Saturday evening, December 31st, 2016 at 12:59 pm, much of the world will be watching the iconic Times Square Tower’s New Year’s Eve ball drop 141 feet to the roof of the One Times Square Building in Manhattan, NY.  This…

Pre-winter holiday activities!

Christmas tree lights – Students first guess how many feet of lights would be required to decorate this tree.  The class finds the mean and median of those guesses.  Then they brainstorm and refine their guesses. Lastly they figure out how…