My avatar across the web: a photo of my feet in grey-white socks and brown sandals.

Ben Babcock

I read, write, code, and knit.

1 Article from March 2015

  1. Modelling epidemics to learn about probability

    My major focus in my work at the Adult Education Centre has been adapting online courses for the Hybrid Learning Project. Basically, these are high school courses adult learners can complete online, but there is also an in-person tutorial component to them. I’ve been adapting the e-Learning Ontario MDM4U (Grade 12 Data Management) course. I’m almost done.

    I could write an entire post about this assignment and how I feel about it, but that’s for another time. Instead I want to share something cool I made for the course.

    When I hit the lesson on experimental probability, the assignment was basically, “Create an experiment and perform it ten or twenty times and then estimate the experimental probability.” Yeah. As if someone doing an online course would really do that.

    So I searched for some kind of interactive resource—and I found this NRICH activity on modelling epidemics. It’s a neat Flash applet that lets you adjust variables and then simulate an epidemic in a village. After each epidemic finishes, the simulator calculates the mean and standard deviation for a few different variables. The idea is that students should adjust one variable at a time and then hypothesize what effects this…

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