Decision Making: Probability and Risk Assessment
This module focuses on how mathematical reasoning can be used to make decisions in everyday life. Marble-rolling activities, number cubes, and coin tosses are used to introduce probability. After reading historical case studies, students are presented with a hypothetical life-or-death scenario involving the spread of an infectious disease. They decide how to reduce risks associated with local disasters, whether they occur naturally or as a result of human intervention. Students are assessed on their ability to use evidence and identify trade-offs when making a decision.
Each module includes a Teacher’s Guide containing reproducible student pages and a kit containing the equipment required to conduct the activities with five classes of 32 students. The Teacher’s Guide provides specific strategies to facilitate and assess student learning.
Module at a Glance
Guide to the Module
Activity 1: Estimating Probabilities
Student Investigation: Marble Mania
Activity 2: Surveying a Population
(Student Investigation: Creating a Survey)
Activity 3: Comparing Risks of Injury
Student Investigation: Rank the Risks
Activity 4: Evaluating Evidence of Risk
Student Investigation: Check the Evidence
Activity 5: Risk Analysis and Reduction
Student Investigation: Reduce the Risk
Activity 6: Analyzing Survey Data
Student Investigation: What Does Your Survey Show?
Activity 7: Investigating Chance and Probability
Student Investigation: Heads or Tails?
Activity 8: Making Decisions With Limited Evidence
Student Investigation: The Injection Problem
Activity 9: Quantitative Risk Analysis
Student Investigation: The Smallpox Story
Activity 10: Investigating Cumulative Risk
Student Investigation: Roll Again!
Activity 11: Risk Mitigation
Student Investigation: Be Prepared!
Appendix A: Materials
Appendix B: Background
Appendix C: Assessment
Appendix D: Glossary