# Day 114: No More Than 20 Ft? Really?

I found this cool toy at Christmas time at a World Market store and I just knew I had to use it in AP Stats.  The elf Holiday Popper package claimed that it shoots up to 20 feet…so significance tests, here we come.  I just love, Love, LOVE how this single activity wove in lots of review and deepening of new concepts simultaneously.

I showed the “statisticians” the packaging and asked how we could test this claim.  We had to determine the null and alternative hypotheses…very interesting conversation, but good clarifications about the null needing the equal sign.  We had to determine whether the conditions for inference could be met, which led to questions about the idea of randomness and independence; a great review of old concepts and vocabulary.  For the Normal condition, we needed to decide what sample size we could/should use.

And this led to designing the data collection process.  Once again, good questions about bias, controlling for lurking variables and sample size for t-methods.  After we decided that we didn’t know the shape of the population distribution of shot-lengths, they immediately said it would be easy to collect 30 or more measurements, so we wouldn’t have to graph the data due to the CLT (secretly I was elated they remembered this requirement). But mean old me said we’d collect 20 measurements because I wanted to review the process (can you hear the collective groan?).

We then collected the data and analyzed it.

Once we finished talking through the process and working through the problem, I had the students submit their work via a Google Docs, which gives me an opportunity to look at what area(s) are still weak.  I noticed immediately that writing conclusions is an area needing additional practice.  I’ll come up with something for tomorrow.

What I particularly like about this activity is that it’s not the typical “textbook” problem; the students actually had to create the problem, determine the question, collect the data and analyze it.  What is an activity you used that gave so much more to the learning and retaining process than you anticipated?