Sunday, November 5, 2017

Teach 180: Irony and Chocolate Consumption (Day 45)

We finally came to a place in my schedule with my Probability and Statistics classes where I could actually teach the students the same content on the same day! (This year I teach 2 sections of Prob/Stat, 1 section of Calculus and 1 section of PreCalculus.)  I was so excited to have a day where I would only had to prep for teaching 3 different classes, instead of 4!

However, after teaching my first class of Probability and Statistics, I realized that there would be no way to get the new content taught in just 20 minutes.  (Students who needed extended time on the quiz in my first class could use part of the lunch period to finish the quiz.  There was no lunch period in my afternoon class and this led to 10 minutes less instructional time.)  Plus, the three big ideas to be taught with my second class were to be taught between 2:55 PM and 3:15 PM on a Friday afternoon.  Would my students remember these ideas when we had class again on Tuesday? Unlikely.

So...did I plow through the content?  Did I plan for this and "flip my classroom", having all students watch video explanations of the content after the quiz? I did neither of these things.  Instead, I had students read an article from The New England Journal of Medicine called "Chocolate Consumption, Cognitive Function and Nobel Laureates".  It is a brief article that shows that there is a strong positive linear correlation between chocolate consumption (in kg/yr/capita) and the number of Nobel Laureates per 10 million people.  The article suggests three possible reasons for the association, but clearly we cannot assume that creating a  law that requires people to eat more chocolate will increase the number of Nobel Laureates within a given country.  The brief, but important, lesson students learned on a Friday afternoon is that correlation does not imply causation.

No comments:

Post a Comment