May 232013

The AP exam is over, finals are in two weeks, and my learners have been busy bees constructing knowledge for the community.

That is their goal in this post-AP Exam stage of the class. Their charge and challenge is to do something that constructs, creates, or consolidates knowledge for the school or the community. Below are the projects that have come out of this as examples, in no particular order.

Group 1:  This group took last year’s project of finding out which is the cheaper grocery store (Smith’s, Walmart, Raleys and Scolari’s – they found out Smith’s & Walmart were the same) and are extending it. This year they are seeing if last years results are still true, AND then extending the matched pair to a two sample to compare last year’s prices to this year’s prices.  The manager of Smith’s is very interested in the outcome of this.

Group 2: Does Walmart change their prices based on the income level of the zip code the store is located in? So far the results show no, but that hasn’t been finalized yet.

Group 3: Are high school students prepared for disasters. This group wanted to do something related to the zombie apocalypse. I used my veto power. Now they are back down to earth doing a multistage cluster & stratified sample of the school.

Group 4: What percent of our seniors go out of state for college and how does this compare to previous years? The trouble is, our counselors have never kept track of this! There is no data base or spreadsheet for previous years. So, this group had to collect the information (census) from all the seniors, build a spreadsheet to house the information and then compare vs. the numbers we were able to get from our local university.  When they are done they are giving the results and database to the counselors to maintain.

Group 5: This group of 1 person originally proposed a nationwide survey. I talked them out of it. Then they proposed a city wide survey. Again, talked them out of it. There wasn’t enough time to accomplish such aggressive projects. In the end, the person narrowed the idea down to “what impacts graduation rates the most, income or poverty in Washoe County School District?” This is achievable. The group is collecting information from census bureau data and grad rate data and then doing a regression test on the data. There are some interesting results so far.

Group 6:  Are freshmen aware of or comfortable with basic science based on their middle school and freshmen biology class? They took questions from the science standards and talked to science teachers to create a short quiz based on the standards. They did a random sample of freshmen classes and then sampled randomly 5 from those classes using a deck of cards. The sample is VERY small, but the process is good.

Group 7: Do gasoline prices fluctuate together in an area at the gas pump AND do the prices move with the price of light sweet crude on the international market? Whew, big project dealing with daily checking at 7 gas stations and market prices. They have a very interesting topic, and the mechanics of it will require a regression test.

Group 8: Another one person group, but this time the learner is interested if course “difficulty” can be quantified. The learner was upset at being told that certain classes are harder than others and therefore should not be taken because it would hurt the GPA. When the learner asked “how do you know?” to the counselor the learner was not given a straight answer. To help, I received a complete grade distribution of every class in the school, removed the teacher names and replaced with a random word that starts with either “d” or “g” (for no reason, just to make it difficult) and this is what the learner is using. So far, so good. Although I am not sure the question can be achieved, it is worth doing.

Group 9: This group is interested in whether the plans of the senior class changed from when they were freshmen. A cluster sample is being done on the government classes to get senior viewpoints.

and finally,

Group 10: A multistage sample to see if being involved in sports helps or hurts GPA. They are all athletes and they all have different opinions on what the outcome will be.


I am excited to see the results of many of these, and I will be sharing the results with store managers in the area, the local newspaper in several cases, as well as next year’s group of AP learners.

Any suggestions or questions for them (or me)?

  2 Responses to “Projects in my AP Stats class”

  1. Re: group 3, I had some kids this past year do a final project comparing shooters and bows at an archery range (2-prop, Chi Squared). They then wrapped the project in a theme of “who do you want to protect you, and with what bow, when the zombie apocalypse happens?” Love the community engagement with group 1…will encourage my kids to look that route this fall.

  2. Thank you Andy. I was really proud of the groups this year. They really stretched themselves for the most part I think. Let me know if you want to collaborate on any projects. Doing a cross state / school project would be very cool.

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