Authentic Problems: Reaction Time


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Who has the best reaction time?

Students consider the importance of reaction times: which people might need and/or have quick reaction times? Students predict their own reaction times and design and investigate questions involving two categorical variables, such as reaction times vs time spent exercising. They conduct their investigations (e.g. using a drop-and-catch technique, or an online game), collect data and construct data displays to compare times. Students reflect on how different factors can affect someone’s reaction time.

Read the Teachers' Guide before using this resource.


Lesson 1: Discover Phase

Students consider contexts where reaction times are important. They learn about tests for reaction times, test themselves and plot the times on a number line. They compare reaction times with other students.

Lesson 2: Devise Phase

Students pose a statistical question to compare the reaction times of two groups of students. They devise a fair test to collect data that will answer their question and plan ways to efficiently record and display the data they collect. They participate in creation of a dot plot, and consider how to modify it to compare data from two groups.

Lesson 3: Develop Phase

Students use the plans from the Devise Phase to conduct a statistical investigation. They organise and conduct data collection, record and interpret reaction times, construct appropriate displays to reveal patterns and communicate findings, and make generalisations.

Lesson 4: Defend Phase

Students defend their conclusions about reaction times. In inquiry, the evidence triangle helps students to connect conclusions they make to the inquiry question posed, and to the mathematical evidence they collect. Students consider the findings presented by others and offer their own interpretations of data sets in context, as part of the reflection process. The unit is reviewed along with the 4D inquiry phases.

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