STATCOM P-12 Outreach Team Participates in Spring Fest 2006

April,  2006


The STATCOM P-12 Outreach team participated in this year's Spring Fest on April 8th and 9th, 2006 at Purdue University. This was their second year to participate in the event. The STATCOM P-12 Outreach team is run by Statistics in the Community (STATCOM), a volunteer community outreach organization directed and staffed by graduate students in the Department of Statistics. With support from the Department of Statistics and Ellen Gundlach, the team set up several activities on the Memorial Mall at Purdue University to increase interest and involvement in statistics through the use of hands-on activities. Among this year's activities were:

Pie Charts with Smarties

This activity was mostly for children, even though many needed help from their parents. Each child opened one roll of Smarties, each containing exactly 15 candies. They then separated the candies into different colors (six different colors in all) and placed them on supplied pie charts with 15 slices each. Many of the children continued to color in the slices with crayons. This gives them a graphical representation of how many of each color were in their roll of Smarties.

Let's Make a Deal - The Monty Hall Problem

The famous "Monty Hall Problem" was used again after its successful debut by the P12 Outreach team at last year's event at the Indiana State Fair. The player chose among three doors - behind one of which had a picture of a car and two of which had pictures of goats. After the player made their decision, the "host" displayed one of the two remaining doors that had a goat behind it. The player was then given an opportunity to switch the door that was not shown. This was a good lead-in to discuss the Monty Hall Problem and conditional probability in general.

Deal or No Deal

In this activity a player first selected among nine cards with "dollar" amounts from $100 to $0.01. After the selection was made (but not shown), the player selected four of the remaining eight cards to remove from the board. Based on the values removed, an "offer" was made that was higher than the median of the remaining values, but lower than the mean. If the offer was rejected (i.e. "No Deal"), two more cards were removed. A second offer was made, which may be better or worse than the first offer. If the second offer was refused, one more card was removed and a final decision was made. The player could keep, switch to the remaining card, or take an offer slightly below the mean of the two remaining cards. This activity was very successful, especially with children who enjoyed watching the game show.

Birth Month Chart

Data were collected on the month of people's birthdays who visited the College of Science tent on the Memorial Mall on Saturday and Sunday.

Cricket Spitting Contest

Every year Purdue's Department of Entomology sponsors Bug Bowl as part of Purdue's Spring Fest. One of the activities of the Bug Bowl is the Cricket Spitting Contest. Contestants try to out spit each other with real frozen crickets. Graduate student volunteers from the Department of Statistics entered data and helped with determining rankings for each contest.

In addition to these activities, several posters created by STATCOM and the STATCOM P-12 Outreach team were on display in the Memorial Mall including the poster, "Why is it fun to be a Statistician?"

The STATCOM P-12 Outreach team would like to thank all the volunteers for making the event a success!

Volunteers: Johnna Anderson, Jesse Cunningham, Shannon Knapp, Andrew Lewandowski, Alex Lipka, Gayla Olbricht, Adam Reeger, Rochelle Remke, Patricia Yoshida, Cheng Zheng.