Superbowl Predictions

ESPN recently published a list of “expert” predictions for Superbowl 50.  Seventy writers, analysts, and pundits predicted the final score of the upcoming game between the Carolina Panthers and the Denver Broncos.  I thought it might be fun to crowdsource a single prediction from this group of experts.

Below is a histogram showing the predicted difference between Carolina’s score and Denver’s score.  The distribution looks fairly normal (symmetric and unimodal).

Super Bowl 50 Predictions

The average difference is 6.15 points, with a standard deviation of 7.1 points.  Since we are looking at Carolina’s score – Denver’s score, these predictors clearly favor Carolina to win, by nearly a touchdown.

This second histogram shows the predicted total points scored in the game.  The average is 44 points, with a standard deviation of 5.7 points.

Super Bowl 50 Predictions -- Total Points

Combining the two statistics, let’s say that the group of ESPN experts predict a final score of Carolina 25 – Denver 19.  We’ll find out just how good their predictions are tomorrow!

[See the full list of ESPN expert predictions here.]

Teaching Math Using the Olympics

sochi olympicsThe New York Times Learning Network has put together a great collection of ideas to help teachers of all disciplines bring the Sochi Winter Olympics into the classroom.  I contributed to the math section.

For example, using this beautiful infographic showing the medal counts by country for all previous winter olympics, students can explore how countries perform when they host the games.

Use the medal counts to investigate the Olympic “home field advantage.” For each country that has hosted the winter Olympics, calculate the average number of medals it wins when hosting the games and when it does not. Do the host nations tend to win more medals? Do they win more gold medals in particular?

There are many other great ideas for teaching math, science and health here.  A separate set of ideas covering history, geography, and social studies can be found here.

Math Quiz — NYT Learning Network

mikhail prokhorovThrough Math for America, I am part of an ongoing collaboration with the New York Times Learning Network. My latest contribution, a Test Yourself quiz-question, can be found here

Test Yourself Math — August 28, 2013

This question is about Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, owner of the Brooklyn Nets.  The Nets have one of the NBA’s highest payrolls; approximately what percentage of Prokhorov’s net worth does the team’s payroll represent?


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