Monday, July 22, 2013

Lesson plan: Posit Science and Hypothesis Testing

Here is a basic lesson plan that one could use to teach the hypothesis testing method in a statistics course. I teach in a computer lab but I think it could be modified for a non-lab setting, especially if you use a smart classroom. The lesson involves learning about a company that makes web-based games that improve memory (specifically, I use the efficacy testing the company did to provide evidence that their games do improve memory).

Posit Science is a company that makes computer based games that are intended to improve memory. I use material from the company's website when teaching my students about the scientific method. Here is what I do...

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1) I usually start up by telling them that we're learning about hypothesis testing within the context of memory research. And anyone who loves an older adult or plans on becoming an older adult should be interested in memory research. Then, I let them play one of the free memory games ("Divided Attention" is the game I use). I teach stats in a computer lab, so this is feasible for me. You need a free registration in order to access the games. You can use a dummy email address as you don't need to confirm the registration. **If you don't teach in a lab, you could always drop this portion**

2) We discuss the null and alternative hypotheses for Posit science (there games improve memory or they do not).

3) I have students read over the research methods that were used when PS performed efficacy tests. This is detailed at the IMPACT study page.

4) I have my students read over the findings from the IMPACT study.

5) I also show my students the long list of published research using Posit Science to a) improve and/or b) measure memory in a variety of different sorts of people.