Statistics with Candy!

February 27th, 2015 – written by Eugenia Ruiz, STEM Facilitator
Feb 27 - 1When will Chicago get their first warm day?! Meanwhile, the Sisters4Science class at Funston Elementary is doing the best they can at being patient until it is warm enough to go outside!
In today’s session, Dr. Irene Helenowski from Northwestern University was our scientist of the day. It was fantastic having her come back to the program and see the girls again! They were looking forward to seeing her and taking part in the activities she brought for them!! Today, she brought some treats for the girls as a part of the lesson. There were two bags; in each of those bagsFeb 27 - 7 were two different types of candies. Twix and Snickers in the blue bag and 3 Musketeers and Milky Way in the pink bag. The girls were to randomly pick one candy out of each bag. The girls created a chart on the board that tallied up which combination they had. Dr. Helenowski then calculated Fisher’s Exact Test on her computer to see if the combinations were all the same. It was noted that a p-value less (not greater) than 0.05 would indicate that the combinations were not equal. Dr. Helenowski explained to the girls that this was similar to her job.  If you were to replace the Twix and Snickers with boys and girls, and the 3 Musketeers and Milky Way with two different kinds of medicine, it would help with the data of which medicine worked best for either the boys or girls. Feb 27 - 6The girls were fascinated with that! They did not know that math had a lot to do with science and it amazed them of that fact. Who new a little chocolate would get them interested in statistics?!
The girls enjoyed their session with Dr. Helenowski and were fascinated by what she does for the medical community. We are lucky to have her visit and look forward to keeping in touch with her in the future!
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