AP statistics projects underway as semester comes to a close

May 22, 2009 — by Anna Shen and Abhi Venkataramana

“Take one minute to memorize this list of 60 random words and jot down everything you are able remember in thirty seconds.”

This is just one of the 27 out-of-the-blue experiments members of Seema Patel’s AP Statistics classes are testing on fellow SHS students this spring.

In place of assessing how much students have learned through cumulative final exams, Patel is taking a different approach by allowing her students to work on a final project in which students can apply specific concepts they learned. Although this project was first introduced by former AP Statistics teacher Mike Navrides, Patel continues to assign this project because she finds it a very competent and fulfilling way to wrap up everything learned throughout the school year in a “fun and enjoyable” way.

It gives AP Statistics students a way to compile all the skills and techniques they learned throughout the year and apply them to the real world. Students are required to form groups, pick a topic to research on, gather and analyze data from current Saratoga High School students, do an exhaustive write-up and finally present their research to the class. There are 27 of these interesting projects being worked on currently by the AP Statistics students.

“I think [the project] is fun for [the students], because they’re picking something they like versus me saying, ‘You’re doing this topic!’” said AP Statistics teacher Seema Patel. “This project is something they choose on their own, [and] the kids like it.”

Along with having almost no homework for the remainder of the year, many students find this experience exciting and very different from usual school projects.

“[The project] is fun, because it’s not the average project where you have to stay in class to do it, but you can actually interact with other people,” said senior Chris Sir, who is researching on whether or not the conventional guy-ask-girl rule upholds in the modern world. “It’s pretty interesting how you can see the answers and how other people are like.”

In contrast to last year’s chosen topics, the ones chosen this year have not been as “out-of-the-box” or “eye-catching,” according to Patel.

“Last year, there were more of ones that were out-of-the-box, like does playing the piano help you become a better typist,” Patel said.

Students being pulled out from classes are chosen randomly as the AP Statistics students use their calculators to generate numbers which then correlate with a student. Many students enjoy being a part of these projects.

“It’s kind of fun getting pulled out of class and being asked random questions,” said junior Victor Wong, who has been pulled out of class by AP Statistics students twice.

The AP Statistics projects are due during the first week of June, ending with presentations of the students’ accumulated research.

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