On the last two Thursdays, I had the opportunity to attend a class about statistics and sports through a program called Teachers as Scholars. It was a great class, and it gave me some ideas of things I could incorporate in my classes to try to make things more real and interesting for the kids.
When I came back to school after the first class, I told one of my Pre-Calculus classes a little about what I had learned. Specifically, because I have a few students who share my love of the Bruins, I told them about this hockey example. Apparently, based on some probability modeling, when you are trying to get that last goal to tie up the game and then hopefully have a chance of winning, you are better off pulling the goalie with five or six minutes left in the game, versus the common practice of a minute or maybe a minute and a half. You are more likely to get that goal with five minutes instead of only one. I told my students I hoped to have more insight as to why after my second session.
The second class was this past Thursday, but with the storm over the weekend, today was the first day since the class that I saw these students. When I started to explain the probability modeling behind this conjecture, one of my students excitedly asked if I saw the Bruins game last night.
No, unfortunately, I missed it.
Well, apparently, the Bruins pulled their goalie with about two and half minutes left, and my kids were so excited that what I told them seemed to have worked. In those two minutes, the Bruins were able to make the two goals needed to tie up the game.
Ok, so they ended up losing, but hey, probability worked!