This MEI problem-solving activity features a number of real-world examples of frauds and scams that students are asked to analyse and evaluate. Students can use various tools (e.g. simulation or a more theoretical probabilistic analysis) to work out why the proposed schemes are fraudulent.

Overview of task

This MEI problem-solving activity features a number of real-world examples of frauds and scams that students are asked to analyse and evaluate. Students can use various tools (e.g. simulation or a more theoretical probabilistic analysis) to work out why the proposed schemes are fraudulent.

Mathematical strand

Statistics

Prior knowledge

This task should be accessible to all Core Maths students. Students will need a prior knowledge of theoretical and experimental probability; both of these topics should be familiar from GCSE mathematics.

Relevance to Core Maths qualifications

•AQA

•C&G

•Eduqas

•Pearson/Edexcel

•OCR

Suggested approaches

The activity consists of a set of three scenarios that are presented on the Student sheet. The Teacher notes provides guidance about the presentation of these questions to students and suggestions for simple approaches to analysing the ‘scams’ presented.

Resources/documentation

The activity consists of two A4 documents:

- The Teacher notes, with the three scenarios and teacher’s notes
- The Student sheet, with the three scenarios in a format that can be duplicated for students

Relevant digital technologies

Students could use spreadsheets to model each of the schemes. In the first two scenarios, the random number function could be used to generate sets of data to model the real-world behaviour of the proposed schemes.

Possible extensions

Students could go on to investigate a wider range of frauds and scams. Some examples are provided on the websites linked to in the resources.

Acknowledgement

Developed by MEI, with funding from the Department for Education as part of the Critical Maths project to develop a post-16 mathematical thinking curriculum based on ideas from Professor Sir Timothy Gowers - http://www.mei.org.uk/critical-maths