IB Biology Practical Investigations/Statistics/Mythbusting: 'Girls can't catch'

MYTHBUSTING: GIRLS CAN'T CATCHEdit

TEACHING OBJECTIVE:

  • Students develop their own method of investigation, based on the knowledge that they will need to use the T-test to analyse their results.


TASK OUTCOMES:

  • By the end of this activity, students will be able to:
    • design and evaluate a method of investigation based on scientific conventions.
    • apply the T-test to a set of data generated in an investigation
    • present their data in an appropriate format, using scientific conventions


TIME REQUIRED:

  • 90 minutes - 2 hours




INTRODUCTION:
Is there really a difference between boys' and girls' catching abilities? The boys will surely say there is, the girls the opposite. Here's a chance to find out.


Teams will work together to design a method for testing the null hypothesis: 'there is no difference between boys and girls in terms of catching ability'. Their method should allow them to test their data using the T-test and present their results appropriately.


This task will allow exploration of many of the fundamentals of reseacrh science, including sample sizes, fair tests, application of statistics, evaluation of methods, limitations of results, presentation of data. It is a bit silly, but statistics needs an injection of fun.


MATERIALS AND EQUIPMENT:

  • balls
  • measuring tape/ sticks
  • other equipment as groups require


OTHER RESOURCES NEEDED:

  • Prior knowledge of the T-test and basic scientific method/ fair testing required


INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Put students into small, mixed-gender groups.
  • Set the research question: 'Is there a difference between boys and girls in terms of catching ability?'
  • Allow the groups time to develop a simple method for testing the hypothesis, which will allow them to utlise the T-test.
  • Once methods have been approved, allow sufficient time for groups to collect enough data.
  • In the next lesson/ at home, students apply the T-test to their data, make a poster of their results and present it to the class.
  • As a class, discuss the limitations of each group's method, datasets and data analysis. How can this investigation help students plan more scientifically in the future?


SAFETY/ RISK ASSESSMENT

  • Ball-throwing outside, in plenty of space.
  • First-aid supplies ready for the boys who make inappropriate comments about girls' coordination.




IDEAS FOR FURTHER INVESTIGATION

  • Ask students to brainstorm other areas of science that could be explored using the T-test.
  • Refer back to this activity when sampling populations in Ecology.



SOURCES AND REFERENCES:

Last modified on 9 July 2009, at 23:08