Hot Streaks

Australian curriculum number (ACMSP226)

This sequence uses two different contexts (coinflipping and the NBA) to explore ideas of randomness. Students devise strategies to distinguish between random and non-random results, using spreadsheets and graphing software. They investigate real-world applications of probability and engage with problems of interest to sports statisticians.

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 fifty 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 truly randomly generated.

Lesson 2: Do Hands Get Hot?

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


Last updated March 7 2019.