Nuffield: Can They Tell The Difference?

The task involves completing a triangle taste test, involving a standard and healthy option of various foods/drinks, and then using a hypothesis test to test the significance of the result. Students will be introduced to the idea of a null and an alternative hypothesis and begin to relate their pre-conception of ‘likelihood’ to a rigorous statistical test.

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Overview of task

The task involves completing a triangle taste test, involving a standard and healthy option of various foods/drinks, and then using a hypothesis test to test the significance of the result. Students will be introduced to the idea of a null and an alternative hypothesis and begin to relate their pre-conception of ‘likelihood’ to a rigorous statistical test.

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Mathematical strand

Probability

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Prior knowledge

Calculating probabilities from a binomial distribution, using statistical cumulative tables.

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Relevance to Core Maths qualifications

•AQA

•C&G

•Eduqas

•Pearson / Edexcel

•OCR

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Suggested approaches

The task should be completed in small groups with a number of different tasting stations, and around three or four different items to distinguish between. Students should be encouraged to guess how many people need to correctly identify each healthy option in order to say that it is possible to tell the difference, comparing this later on with the outcome of the significance test.

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Resources/documentation

In addition to this overview, there are:

  • Detailed teacher notes (Word and PDF)
  • Student information sheet (Word and PDF)
  • PowerPoint presentation

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Possible extensions

Students could look for instances of potentially significant results/occurrences in the news or online and set up a hypothesis test to see if they really are significant.

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Acknowledgement

This is a resource developed by the Nuffield Foundation for the FSMQs and can be accessed at www.nuffieldfoundation.org/fsmqs/level-3-hypothesis-testing#cantheytell