Hot Streaks

Australian curriculum number (ACMSP226)

This sequence uses two different contexts (coin flipping and the NBA) to explore ideas of randomness. Students develop tests for randomness in order to distinguish between random and non-random results. Students use their understanding of randomness to investigate the existence or otherwise of the ‘hot streak’ phenomenon in basketball.

This sequence is for students who are familiar with using spreadsheet programs to analyse data and who are ready to create their own methodologies to explore more complex datasets.


Lesson 1: Pick the Fake Data

Students choose between flipping a coin 50 times and recording the results or making up a fake sequence of ‘random’ results. They then experiment with different statistical methods to find a strategy for identifying whether other students’ results are fake or are truly randomly generated.

Lesson 2: Do Hands Get Hot?

Students learn about the hot hand phenomenon in basketball. Using their findings from Lesson 1: Pick the Fake Data, students explore different methodologies to prove whether the phenomenon exists.


Last updated June 21 2020.