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Lesson Plan: How Fast Are You?

Maryann Huey, Alana Linde, Dan Aalbers

(Grades 6-8, 9-12+) In this lesson, published in August 2017, each student collects 20 reaction-time data values using an online tool for testing reaction times to a visual stimulus. Students display and analyze data via a free online tool, Tuva.

Students first characterize their own reaction times, and then compare the results informally to a peer’s to determine who is typically faster and more consistent. Second, students engage with formal statistical measures to further refine their arguments. Students choose appropriate measures of center and variation based on their data, and reflect upon the validity of results in terms of measurement error, sample size, and other experimental design factors.

Key words: 6-8, 9-12, data collection, comparing groups, measures of center and spread, boxplots