This is an activity that I think I invented. I'm not 100% sure though, since I've been doing it for a long time and usually I steal activities from the internet, but I think this one is mine. Please tell me if I'm wrong so I can give the real inventor credit!
AP Statistics Olympics!
I introduce z-scores by holding the AP Statistics Olympics in my class. We start right away with the three olympic events. I model each event and then kids can do them in any order all at once in a bunch of wonderful chaos. The events and the notetaking all take place in a 47 minute class period, and with up to 32 kids in the class.
I set up a trash can against a wall and make a line on the floor with some masking tape. Kids throw as many balled up pieces of paper in a row as possible. Keep throwing until you miss and write your #shots on the board. Most kids miss the first shot and get a 0. For the sake of time, it's helpful to set up two trashketball stations.
2) Broad Jump (Standing Long Jump)
This is the station that I (wo)man. On the floor I have a long piece of masking tape marked off with distances (by inch). Students jump as far as they can, I call out where their heels hit and they write their distance on the board.
3) Reaction Time
I set up a few laptops (just having one laptop isn't enough - Holy Traffic Jam Batman!) and have students go to this website: https://www.humanbenchmark.com/tests/reactiontime
They write their average score over 5 tries (the website calculates the average for you) on a clipboard that I have over by the laptops.
As students finish up, I quickly input all the data into a spreadsheet so that I can calculate the average and standard deviation for each event.
I announce that we need to have one gold medal winner, one silver, and one bronze - but we had three different events, how can we compare? This leads into . . . z-scores! How impressive was a student's performance compared to everyone else?
We calculate the z-score for the winner of each event, and then we write out what this means in words. I like that the reaction time winner will have a negative z-score, which automatically leads into discussions about positive/negative z-scores and absolute value.
Here are two photos of the completed foldable:
And a link to a blank copy of the foldable: https://app.box.com/s/rgkdo6fpk58ealg8n9yd
What I'd like to do differently:
You can see that in past years we just compared the top performer in each event. This year I'd like for students to calculate their own z-scores in each of the three events and then we can discuss how we could combine those three z-scores for one score that encompasses all three events. For example, you can't just take the absolute value of each z-score and add them, because if you have a negative z-score in the broad jump that would mean that you were below average and taking the absolute value would make it seem like you were above average. I want the kids to figure out what makes the most sense here.
In addition, this year I'm NOT doing ISN's (Interactive Student Notebooks) - I'm doing chapter packets instead (only including my best foldables in the packet). More about that in a future post.
I'm attaching my Chapter 2 Packet to this post - the new z-score pages are on pages 30-31 of the packet (the chapter 2 packet isn't that long, it's just that I continued the page numbering from the Chapter 1 packet - kind of like an ISN).