Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Wiffleball -- Sports-Based Statistics Project

Take your class out to the ball game
Theoretical and Experimental Probability gets a facelift in this interactive game-based 21st Century Math Project. Tired of flipping coins and spinning spinners? Students play the role of team managers and with only player statistics they must build a team capable of winning the championship. 

Name: Wiffleball
Suggested Grade Level: 7-12 (Pre-Algebra, Statistics skills)
Math Concepts: Theoretical vs. Experimental Probability, Fractions, Data Collection
Interdisciplinary Connections: Sports, Games, Awesome Fun Stuff
Teaching Duration: 2-3 Days (can be modified)
Cost: $5 for a 11 Page PDF (1 project, 2 assignments and all game essentials) 
PDF Version: Wiffleball @ TPT

The Product: Students build their teams to compete for a championship. Bracket style tourney optional and included!

Game on, homie.
Combine together three juggernaut hobbies into one colossal  21st Century Math Project. Sports. Gaming. Mathematical Swagg. While there are plenty of class activities to teach the difference between theoretical versus experimental probability, I had to lob in my own crazy attempt.

In this 21st Century Math Project students will plays a series of Wiffleball games (6 players on a team and 4 inning games to keep things shorter) where they will keep track of statistics using a baseball/softball inspired scorebook and after the game crunch the number to see if their players performed up to their theoretical expectations. How does experimental probability match up? Students will find out together.

Did someone say drunk?... Hey, you
wanna use my spinners?!
In 7th Grade, my math teacher (he may have been drunk or a genius) pulled out Strat-O-Matic baseball, a card game with every MLB team, a 60 sided die and told us to go at it. Of course we loved it. While I was 12 years old, I certainly do not remember doing any actual math. The much older version of me says, what a missed opportunity! Why can’t we do both?

In my trial runs with this project (during student lunches since this content hasn’t quite come up), students keep coming back for more. Nothing like having to kick your students out of your room because they are doing too much math! Now, I discovered keeping the scorebook was difficult at first. If you have any experience with baseball or softball this will probably be an easy thing to teach. I have simplified the game to have three outcomes. Homeruns, singles and outs.

EXTENSION: Perhaps a few students want to get together to create a league and play a season worth of games during lunch! It can happen.

Sometimes 21st Century Math Projects can get a little too intense. Students will get emotional. Some might cry. It’s all part of the design. But seriously make sure students don’t cry.  

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