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Spelman College

At Spelman College the CHANCE course was offered in the place of the Honors Quantitative Reasoning Course, Math 193. As stated in the course outline, the course was designed to teach fundamental ideas of statistics and probability in the light of ``What is happening in the Worlds". The CHANCE course was taught during Pall '93, Spring '94 and Fall '94. Since the class size was fairly small (), we were able to tryout a lot of different approaches.

Fall '93:

Spring '94 and Fall '94

The different Components in the course included

i) Journal writing
ii) Discussions of current news
iii) Opinion polls
iv) Chance reports
v) Guest Speakers Some Spelman Chance Fair Project Topics
Four (4) short (2-3 page) reports; mid-term paper having some disciplinary flavor and a final research paper with the CHANCE Fair

vi) CHANCE Fair - Poster Presentation

Some Spelman Chance Fair Project Topics

RAPE - Violation of Body & Soul
Drinking and Driving - It Hurts Everybody!
The Death Penalty and Proportionality Review
WORLD Over Population - Problems and Solutions
Separate Society - Racial Conflict in U.S.
Domestic Abuse
Suicide - A U.S. Epidemic





CHANCE is a course designed to teach fundamental ideas of statistics and probability in the light of real world problems. It is a case study course based upon current chance events reported in the daily newspapers and other news media and journals such as Natures, Science and Chance. Students in this course will learn that with the help of basic notions of probability and statistics, they can think critically for themselves about issues that confront anyone who tries to keep abreast of the news.

Goals and Objectives

Worldwide economic, political, social and cultural forces are making it ever more important that students learn to reason Quantitatively. Yet in the United States, quantitative skills keep declining. The nation has resolved that our students will become first in Math and Science skills by year 2000. CHANCE students learn the quantitative reasoning skills that they will need in order to understand today's world and tomorrow's. As statistics continue to grow as a subject of importance to the general public, chance students, through discussion of applications and issues of broad pubic concern will learn the relevance of statistical ideas in pubic policy.

Course Format

This course will differ from traditional Math classes in content and organization. The class meetings will emphasize group discussion rather than traditional lecture format. Students will keep journals to record their thoughts, questions and ponderings, along with assignments. The course will feature video segments that lead to discussion; guest lectures and computer simulation/analysis.

Textbook: The required textbook for the course is: Statistics: Concepts and Controversies, David S. Moore, Freeman Publishers

Other Mnterials:

Course Topics:

1. Statistical Reasoning: Critical Reading of Data Graphics
Source: New York Times, Atlanta Journal/Constitution,
Your favorite newspaper
2. Statisics and the Media
Guest Speaker: Jocelyn Dorsey - Channel 2
3. Youth Violence
Guest Speaker: Marcella Hammett, CDC/Project Gun Stop
4. Statistics and the Law
5. On Aids Epidemic
Guest Speakerz: Hazel Dean, CDC
6. DNA Evidence
7. Clinical Trials
8. On Breast Cancer
9. Nations Health - A Critical Study


For the CHANCE class, all students will need to keep a Journal. The journal will consist of 3 distinct parts. The first part is a vocabulary list and the third part is the homework. The middle part, the ``journal' part, is what will be meant by the unqualified word journal. Journal assignments will be rather open ended and each student will have considerable latitude in deciding what to put into their journal. Each journal entry should be approximately one page in length (more is fine, less is not) and should be dated and titled if appropriate. The journals will be collected on a semiregular basis. Journal grades will be assigned only once at the end of the class.


Homework problems assigned will be collected on a random basis. Students are expected to be ready to turn in any homework assignment 2 class meetings after it was assigned.

Short Papers

Each student has to write four (4) short papers (3-4 pages) during the semester. These papers can be based on any topics of interest that include some statistical data. Articles obtained from magazines such as Nature, Chance, Science, Newsweek can be used for this purpose. Papers should be typed written doubled spaced. Be sure to include a title page with your name, the due date and the title of your paper. List all reference and source material used. The paper should be turned in on time.


This will be a larger project than the regular papers. It must contain some flavor or influence or some ideas suggested from your major or discipline. For the midterm, students will apply their knowledge of statistics to their major. A good reference for ideas is Statistics: A Guide to the Unknown listed in the reference. (Due October 24, 1994)

Final Project

Each student will also work on a final project for CHANCE fair. This project is to be larger and more in depth than midterm project. In this project, students must demonstrate a knowledge of basic statistical information and analysis. Tables, graphs and charts generated from your data using computer software should be included in this project. An In-depth research paper and a poster presentation of your project in the CHANCE Fair will take the place of time and effort on this project.


The final grade will be computed as follows:

Class Participation 5%

Journals 10%

Homework 5%

Projects 40%

Midterm 15%

Final Report & Chance Fair 25% CHANCE Report Guidelines

1. This guide applies to the papers that must be completed this semester. Each student must select a specific topic within the bounds discussed in class. The reports should demonstrate understanding of concepts discussed in class.

2. The report is to be 2-3 pages in length, typed or word processed. The report must have a title page with student names, the project number and title, and the date due. The report should be enclosed in a folder or cover.

3. Statistical information should be displayed in graphical or tabular form. All such information should be labeled and explained. References and resources should be listed.

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