Park City Mathematics Institute
Data, Statistics, and Probability

Exercise and Cholesterol Level
by Oscar Chavarria, Judith Carlin, and Meiling Dang


Student Activity:
    PDF format

Teacher Notes:
    PDF format


A Fathom 2 classroom activity that could be adapted for work in groups or individual project depending on the experience of the students in data analysis asks the question: Is this reasonable?

Through simulation, students investigate how likely, or unlikely, it is to obtain results similar to those presented in a hypothesized study. Multiple samples and measures are then collected using Fathom. The activity concludes by discussing how the original experimental design can be improved.

7 - 12


40-50 minutes for activity

Part I is designed to be done in groups of two or three. Part II can be done as a whole-class discussion. Part III is an extension activity that can be assigned individually.

    TI-83, TI-84 (or equivalent capable graphing calculators)
    Computer with Fathom™ 2 software

  • Use Fathom to analyze data and create a simulation
  • Determine the reasonableness of experimental probabilities
  • Interpreting experimental designs and types of bias


  • Familiarity with a variety of visual displays: histogram and other plots
  • Familiarity with comparing groups, making conclusions about groups with evidence
  • Analyzing the information in a visual display

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This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under DMS-0940733 and DMS-1441467. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.